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Preface v. 

Foreword xi. 

Chap. I. Maui 's Home 3 

II. Maui the Fisherman 12 

III. Maui Lifting the Sky 31 

IV. Maui Snaring the Sun 40 

V. Maui Finding Fire 56 

VI. Maui the Skilful 78 

VII. Maui and Tuna 91 

VIII. Maui and His Brother-in-Law 101 

IX. Maui's Kite-Flying 112 

X. Oahu Legends of Maui 119 

XI. Maui Seeking Immortality 128 

XII. Hina of Hilo 139 

XIII. Hina and the Wailuku River 146 

XIV. The Ghosts of the Hilo Hills 155 

XV. Hina, the Woman in the Moon 165 


All the Illustrations in this book are Hawaiian, and, excepting the 
frontispiece, were snapshots made by the author. 


Frontispiece Haleakala Crater 

' ' Bugged Lava of Wailuku Kiver " 7 

Leaping to Swim to Coral Eeef s 12 

Sea of Sacred Caves 14 

Spearing Fish 21 

Here are the Canoes 29 

lao Mountain from the Sea 43 

Haleakala 53 

Hawaiian Vines and Bushes 74 

Bathing Pool 84 

Coco-nut Grove 96 

Boiling Pots Wailuku Eiver 100 

Outside were other Worlds 107 

Hilo Coast Home of the Winds 115 

Bay of Waipio Valley 121 

The le-ie Vine 125 

Eainbow Falls 147 

Wailuku Kiver The Home of Kuna 151 

On Lava Beds 163 


There are three simple rules which practically control 
Hawaiian pronunciation: (1) Give each vowel the German 
sound. (2) Pronounce each vowel. (3) Never allow a 
consonant to close a syllable. 

Interchangeable consonants are many. The following are 
the most common: h s ; l=r ; k=t ; n=ng ; v=w. 


Maui is a demi-god whose name should probably be 
pronounced Ma-u-i-, i. e., Ma-oo-e. The meaning of the 
words is by no means clear. It may mean ' ' to live, " " to 
subsist. ' ' It may refer to beauty and strength, or it may 
have the idea of "the left hand" or "turning aside." 
The word is recognized as belonging to remote Poly- 
nesian antiquity. 

MacDonald, a writer of the New Hebrides Islands 
gives the derivation of the name Maui primarily from 
the Arabic word, "Mohyi," which means "causing to 
live " or " life, ' ' applied sometimes to the gods and some- 
times to chiefs as "preservers and sustainers" of their 

The Maui story probably contains a larger number of 
unique and ancient myths than that of any other legend- 
ary character in the mythology of any nation. 

There are three centers for these legends, New Zea- 
land in the south, Hawaii in the north, and the Tahitian 
group including the Hervey Islands in the east. In each 
of these groups of islands, separated by thousands of 
miles, there are the same legends, told in almost the same 
way, and with very little variation in names. The inter- 
mediate groups of islands of even as great importance as 
Tonga, Fiji or Samoa, possess the same legends in more 
or less of a fragmentary condition, as if the three centers 
had been settled first when the Polynesians were driven 
away from the Asiatic coasts by their enemies, the 
Malays. From these centers voyagers sailing away in 
search of adventures would carry fragments rather than 
complete legends. This is exactly what has been done 


and there are as a result a large number of hints of 
wonderful deeds. The really long legends as told about 
the demi-god Ma-u-i and his mother Hina number about 

It is remarkable that these legends have kept their 
individuality. The Polynesians are not a very clannish 
people. For some centuries they have not been in the 
habit of frequently visiting each other. They have had 
no written language, and picture writing of any kind is 
exceedingly rare throughout Polynesian and yet in physi- 
cal traits, national customs, domestic habits, and lan- 
guage, as well as in traditions and myths, the different 
inhabitants of the islands of Polynesia are as near of kin 
as the cousins of the United States and Great Britain. 

The Maui legends form one of the strongest links in 
the mythological chain of evidence which binds the scat- 
tered inhabitants of the Pacific into one nation. An in- 
complete list aids in making clear the fact that groups 
of islands hundreds and even thousands of miles apart 
have been peopled centuries past by the same organic 
race. Either complete or fragmentary Maui legends are 
found in the single islands and island groups of Anei- 
tyum, Bowditch or Fakaofa, Efate, Fiji, Fotuna, Gilbert, 
Hawaii, Hervey, Huahine, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mar- 
quesas, Marshall, Nauru, New Hebrides, New Zealand, 
Samoa, Savage, Tahiti or Society, Tauna, Tokelau and 

S. Percv Smith of New Zealand in his book Hawaiki 
mentions a legend according to which Mani made a 
voyage after overcoming a sea monster, visiting the Ton- 
gas, the Tahitian group, Vai-i or Hawaii, and the Pau- 
motu Islands. Then Maui went on to U-peru, which 
Mr. Smith says "may be Peru." It was said that Maui 

PREFACE. vii. 

named some of the islands of the Hawaiian group, call- 
ing the island Maui "Maui-ui in remembrance of his 
efforts in lifting up the heavens," Hawaii was named 
Vai-i, and Lanai was called Ngangai as if Maui had 
found the three most southerly islands of the group. 

The Maui legends possess remarkable antiquity. Of 
course, it is impossible to give any definite historical date, 
but there can scarcely be any question of their origin 
among the ancestors of the Polynesians before they scat- 
tered over the Pacific ocean. They belong to the pre- 
historic Polynesians. The New Zealanders claim Maui 
as an ancestor of their most ancient tribes and some- 
times class him among the most ancient of their gods, 
calling him "creator of land" and "creator of man." 
Tregear, in a paper before the New Zealand Institute, 
said that Maui was sometimes thought to be "the sun 
himself," "the solar fire," "the sun god," while his 
mother Hina was called ' ' the moon goddess. ' ' The noted 
greenstone god of the Maoris of New Zealand, Potiki, 
may well be considered a representation of Maui-Tiki- 
Tiki, who was sometimes called Maui-po-tiki. 

It is worth while in this place to quote Sir James 
Carroll, of New Zealand, who was for a long time the 
Government Minister having charge of native affairs. 
His high caste native blood and great ability gave him 
a place in the highest order of chiefs among the Maoris. 
He says that the greenstone charm Potiki (often called 
Tiki) is the symbol of the unborn child according to 
the thought of the chiefs best acquainted with Maori 
folk-lore ; and Maui was a demi-god developing life after 
being thrown away as a foetus prematurely born, thus 
representing the first formed child after whom the 
Potiki was named. 

viii. MAUI A DEMI -GOD. 

Whether these legends came to the people in their so- 
journ in India before they migrated to the Straits of 
Sunda is not certain; but it may well be assumed that 
these stories had taken firm root in the memories of the 
priests who transmitted the most important traditions 
from generation to generation, and that this must have 
been done before they were driven away from the Asiatic 
coasts by the Malays. 

Several hints of Hindoo connection are found in the 
Maui legends. The Polynesians not only ascribed human 
attributes to all animal life with which they were ac- 
quainted, but also carried the idea of an alligator or 
dragon with them, wherever they went, as in the mo-o of 
the story Tuna-roa. 

The Polynesians also had the idea of a double soul 
inhabiting the body. This is carried out in the ghost 
legends more fully than in the Maui stories, and yet ' ' the 
spirit separate from the spirit which never forsakes man" 
according to Polynesian ideas, was a part of the Maui 
birth legends. This spirit, which can be separated or 
charmed away from the body by incantations was called 
the "hau." When Maui's father performed the religious 
ceremonies over him which would protect him and 
cause him to be successful, he forgot a part of his in- 
cantation to the "hau, " therefore Maui lost his pro- 
tection from death when he sought immortality for 
himself and all mankind. 

How much these things aid in proving a Hindoo or 
rather Indian origin for the Polynesians is uncertain, but 
at least they are of interest along the lines of race origin. 

The Maui group of legends is pre-eminently peculiar. 
They are not only different from the myths of other na- 


tions, but they are unique in the character of the actions 
recorded. Maui 's deeds rank in a higher class than most 
of the mighty efforts of the demi-gods of other nations 
and races, and are usually of more utility. Hercules 
accomplished nothing to compare with ' ' lifting the sky, ' ' 
"snaring the sun," ''fishing for islands," "finding fire 
in his grandmother's finger nails," or "learning from 
birds how to make fire by rubbing dry sticks," or "get- 
ting a magic bone" from the jaw of an ancestor who was 
half dead, that is dead on one side and therefore could 
well afford to let the bone on that side go for the benefit 
of a descendant. The Maui legends are full of helpful 
imaginations, which are distinctly Polynesian. 

The phrase "Maui of the Malo" is used among the 
Hawaiians in connection with the name Maui a Ka- 
lana, "Maui the son of Akalana." It may be well to 
note the origin of the name. It was said that Hina 
usually sent her retainers to gather sea moss for her, 
but one morning she went down to the sea by her- 
self. There she found a beautiful red malo, which she 
wrapped around her as a pa-u or skirt. When she 
showed it to Akalana, her husband, he spoke of it as 
a gift of the gods, thinking that it meant the gift of 
Mana or spiritual power to their child when he should 
be born. In this way the Hawaiians explain the su- 
perior talent and miraculous ability of Maui which 
placed him above his brothers. 

These stories were originally printed as magazine 
articles, chiefly in the Paradise of the Pacific, Hono- 
lulu; therefore there are sometimes repetitions which 
it seemed best to leave, even when reprinted in the pre- 
sent form. 


This book was published in Honolulu, Hawaiian 
Islands, in 1910. It is now thought best to issue an 
Australian edition for use in Australia and New Zea- 

Although the body of the book is practically un- 
changed, a "Foreword" has been prepared by one of 
the best Polynesian scholars; not only in New Zealand, 
but throughout the world the Hon. S. Percy Smith, 
President of the Polynesian Society. 

This adds greatly to the value of the Maui story, 
and the thanks, not only of the author, but of all Poly- 
nesian scholars, are due Mr. Smith for this addition to 
the folk-lore of the marvellous demi-god. 


By S. Percy Smith, F.R.G.S., 
President, Polynesian Society. 

MAUI, the demi-god, looms very largely in Poly- 
nesian myth, tradition, and folk-lore. Mr. 
Westervelt does well to call him a demi-god, 
for god he assuredly was not. He stands on quite a 
different plane to the gods of the race, and might 
appropriately be called a "hero," because he embodies 
the Polynesian idea of a hero a gifted, clever, daring, 
impudent, rollicking fellow, endowed moreover with 
that kind of mana which in this connection may be 
translated supernatural power that enabled him to 
outdo the feats of ordinary mankind. He also occupies 
a position in his family of brothers, which always 
appeals to the Polynesian (indeed, to other races as 
well) in that he was the youngest of them the Cin- 
derella, the despised and mischievous child who by 
force of character eventually became the leader of the 
family. Many and many a Polynesian tale hinges on 
the rise of the youngest of a family to the place of honor 
and importance in a tribe. 


Maui has several additional names, all expressive of 
some of his characteristics; such as Maui-potiki (Maui- 
the-youngest), Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga (Maui-topknot- 
of Taranga, his mother, the origin of which name Mr. 
Westervelt has given) ; Maui-hangarau (Maui-of-the- 
many-schemes), and so on. Each division of the race 
has its special pet name for the hero, descriptive of the 
achievement that appeals most to the particular branch 
that originated the name. 

As time passed, and the branches of the Polynesian 
race separated off into the various islands in which they 
are now found, the deeds of Maui became subject to the 
well known and world-wide processes of alteration due 
to local environment and localization, giving rise to 
variations from the story as learnt (or invented) in the 
ancient "Father-land" of the people. From like 
causes the deeds of other heroes are now often accredited 
to Maui; but these can often be separated out and 
assigned to their proper places and periods. Notwith- 
standing this, the general agreement of the series of 
Maui legends wherever obtained among the Polynesians 
is somewhat remarkable, as is proved by Mr. Wester- 
velt 's work. This, of course, means that the legends 
came into being before the dispersion of the people to 
the islands of the Pacific. And one part but not all 
of them probably originated during the sojourn of the 
Polynesians in Indonesia. 

There has been an overflow of the Maui legends into 

FOREWORD. xiii. 

the islands inhabited by the black, or very dark, 
Melansians to the west of Polynesia proper; but with 
such a distortion of narratives and names, that we con- 
clude they are not original with that people they were, 
in fact, learnt by them from some of the westward 
migrations of the Polynesians who have, in many 
instances, settled on some of the outlying islands of 

A careful study of the various legends (which has 
not as yet been undertaken exhaustively), will clearly 
lead to the inference that some are immensely older than 
others. When we reflect that traces of the most ancient 
Maui stories are to be discovered in the literature 
written and unwritten of Egypt, Babylonia, Scan- 
dinavia, India, and also in North America, we are at 
once faced with the fact of the immense antiquity of the 
early Maui legends. 

"We may take as one of the most ancient of these, that 
relating to Maui's successful efforts to lengthen the 
day-light. The only reasonable interpretation that can 
be placed on this is, the dimly remembered period vhen 
the people were living in some country where the 
winter days were very short, and that the lengthened 
days were secured to the people by migrating towards 
the temperate or tropical regions of the earth; possibly 
under the leadership of one named Maui, or, what is 
more probable, the deeds of this migratory leader may 
have been in after ages, when the legends surrounding 


the historical Mam became rife, accredited to him as the 
national hero. It may be suggested that if the Poly- 
nesians are, as some of us suppose, Proto-Aryans who 
in very ancient times led the advance guard of the 
Aryan migration from let us say, with Oppert the 
shores of the Baltic, to south-eastern Asia, then the 
legends of Maui's deeds in lengthening the days would, 
in a measure, be accounted for. 

Another of the Maui legends is doubtless far more 
ancient than the period of the historical Maui. Mr. 
Westervelt describes the death of the hero as arising 
through his endeavour to secure everlasting life to man- 
kind, in which undertaking he was frustrated and 
killed by Hine-nui-te-po, the goddess of Hades. The 
period of this incident is so ancient, that according to 
the esoteric teaching of the priests and teachers of the 
Maori Whare-wananga (or college), it occurred not long 
after the creation of mankind, in that mysterious 
"Father-land" of the race named Hawaiki. Hine- 
nui-te-po was, according to the above teaching, the 
second woman created, and was both wife and daughter 
of Tane, the most celebrated of the Maori gods. On 
discovering that Tane was her father she was so over- 
come with shame and horror that she departed for 
Hades, where she took the name of Hine-nui-te-po, 
Great-lady-of-Hades, and became the goddess of those 
realms, where she ever occupies herself in dragging 
down to death the offspring of mankind. This shows 


how ancient the legend is, and that it cannot be placed 
in the period of the historical Maui he who "fished 
up" so many lands, or in other words, discovered so 
many islands. 

The story of Maui's acquisition of fire for the use of 
mankind, belongs probably to the ancient division of the 
series (whilst it might also be modern), if the teaching 
of the Maori college is considered. In that teaching the 
fire is stated to be ' ' Ahi-komau, " or volcanic fire. If 
so, the interpretation of the story may be, that Poly- 
nesian mankind first obtained fire from incandescent 
lava, and the subsequent conflagration of the country 
Te-ahi-a-Maui may be the frequent accompaniment 
of volcanic outbursts as often experienced when the 
vegetation is frequently set ablaze. 

It is, we submit, undoubtedly the case that there was 
a family of the name of Maui who flourished according 
to the best Maori genealogies about 50 generations ago, 
or, in other words, in the seventh century; a period, 
which the most reliable traditions seem to indicate as 
that when a later migration of the Polynesian people 
(known for convenience as the "Tonga-fiti" branch of 
the race) were dwelling in Indonesia, and beginning to 
spread into the borders of the Pacific. And it was here 
probably the stories of Maui's "fishing up" of lands 
originated, in the discovery of many new islands by 
that hero. Or, what is just as likely, many a voyage 
of discovery by other leaders has been in the process of 


time accredited to the national hero. The Maori 
descents from the four Maui brothers are in sufficient 
accordance to allow of our indicating the seventh cen- 
tury as the period in which they flourished. Their 
descendants are to be found in most of the islands 
occupied by the Polynesians, excepting perhaps the 
western groups of Samoa, Tonga, etc., who do not belong 
to the ' ' Tonga-fiti " branch. 

That the legends of the doings of Maui in Indonesia 
have been localized in the various islands of the Pacific, 
is only what might be expected from what we know of 
similar cases in other parts of the world. 

It would therefore seem that a distinction must be 
drawn between the several legends of Maui that some 
are of untold antiquity, others of comparatively-speak- 
ing modern date, and historical. 

Mr. "Westervelt has placed students of Polynesian 
history and traditions under a deep debt of gratitude by 
collecting from so many sources the various versions as 
handed down by the Polynesians in their scattered 
homes all over the Pacific. We are now, for the first 
time, in a position to deal comprehensively with the 
subject, and let us hope, with his book before us, we 
shall be enabled to throw a further ray of light on the 
history of this most interesting people. 



"Akalana was the man; 
Hina-a-ke-ahi was the wife; 
Maui First was born; 
Then Maui-waena; 
Maui Kiikii was born; 
Then Maui of the malo." 

Queen Liliuokalani 's Family Chant. 

BROTHERS, each bearing the name of 
Maui, belong to Hawaiian legend. They ac- 
complished little as a family, except on 
special occasions when the youngest of the household 
awakened his brothers by some unexpected trick which 
drew them into unwonted action. The legends of 
Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand and the Hervey 
group make this youngest Maui ''the discoverer of 
fire" or "the ensnarer of the sun" or "the fisherman 
who pulls up islands" or "the man endowed with 
magic," or "Maui with spirit power." The legends 


vary somewhat, of course, but not as much as might 
be expected when the thousands of miles between vari- 
ous groups of islands are taken into consideration. 

Maui was one of the Polynesian demi-gods. His 
parents belonged to the family of supernatural beings. 
He himself was possessed of supernatural powers and 
was supposed to make use of all manner of enchant- 
ments. In New Zealand antiquity a Maui was said to 
have assisted other gods in the creation of man. 
Nevertheless Maui was very human. He lived in 
thatched houses, had wives and children, and was 
scolded by the women for not properly supporting his 

The time of his sojourn among men is very indefi- 
nite. In Hawaiian genealogies Maui and his brothers 
were placed among the descendants of Ulu and "the 
sons of Kii," and Maui was one of the ancestors of 
Kamehameha, the first king of the united Hawaiian 
Islands. This would place him in the seventh or eighth 
century of the Christian Era. But it is more probable 
that Maui belongs to the mist-land of time. His mis- 
chievous pranks with the various gods would make him 
another Mercury living in any age from the creation 
to the beginning of the Christian era. 

The Hervey Island legends state that Maui's father 
was "the supporter of the heavens" and his mother 
"the guardian of the road to the invisible world." 

In the Hawaiian chant, Akalana was the name of 


his father. In other groups this was the name by 
which his mother was known. Kanaloa, the god, is 
sometimes known as the father of Maui. In Hawaii 
Hina was his mother. Elsewhere Ina, or Hina, was 
the grandmother, from whom he secured fire. 

The Hervey Island legends say that four mighty 
ones lived in the old world from which their ancestors 
came. This old world bore the name Ava-iki, which is 
the same as Hawa-ii, or Hawaii. The four gods were 
Mauike, Ra, Ru, and Bua-Taranga. 

It is interesting to trace the connection of these four 
names with Polynesian mythology. Mauike is the 
same as the demi-god of New Zealand, Mafuike. On 
other islands the name is spelled Mauika, Mafuika, 
Mafuia, Mafuie, and Mahuika. Ra, the sun god of 
Egypt, is the same as Ra in New Zealand and La 
(sun) in Hawaii. Ru, the supporter of the heavens, 
is probably the Ku of Hawaii, and the Tu of New 
Zealand and other islands, one of the greatest of the 
gods worshipped by the ancient Hawaiians. The fourth 
mighty one from Ava-ika was a woman, Bua-taranga, 
who guarded the path to the underworld. Talanga in 
Samoa, and Akalana in Hawaii were the same as Ta- 
ranga. Pua-kalana (the Kalana flower) would prob- 
bly be the same in Hawaiian as Bua-taranga in the 
language of the Society Islands. 

Ru, the supporter of the heavens, married Bua- 
taranga, the guardian of the lower world. Their one 


child was Maui. The legends of Raro-Tonga state 
that Maui's father and mother were the children of 
Tangaroa (Kanaloa in Hawaiian), the great god wor- 
shipped throughout Polynesia. There were three Maui 
brothers and one sister, Ina-ika (Ina, the fish). 

The New Zealand legends relate the incidents of the 
babyhood of Maui. 

Maui was prematurely born, and his mother, not 
caring to be troubled with him, cut off a lock of her 
hair, tied it around him and cast him into the sea. In 
this way the name came to him, Maui-tikitiki, or 
"Maui formed in the topknot." The waters bore him 
safely. The jelly fish enwrapped and mothered him. 
The god of the seas cared for and protected him. He 
was carried to the god's house and hung up in the 
roof that he might feel the warm air of the fire, and 
be cherished into life. When he was old enough, he 
came to his relations while they were all gathered in 
the great House of Assembly, dancing and making 
merry. Little Maui crept in and sat down behind his 
brothers. Soon his mother called the children and 
found a strange child, who proved that he was her 
son, and was taken in as one of the family. Some of 
the brothers were jealous, but the eldest addressed the 
others as follows: 

"Never mind; let him be our dear brother. In the 
days of peace remember the proverb, 'When you are 
on friendly terms, settle your disputes in a friendly 

Rugged Lava of WailuRu River. 


way; when you are at war, you must redress your in- 
juries by violence.' It is better for us, brothers, to be 
kind to other people. These are the ways by which 
men gain influence by laboring for abundance of food 
to feed others, by collecting property to give to others, 
and by similar means by which you promote the good 
of others." 

Thus, according to the New Zealand story related 
by Sir George Grey, Maui was received in his home. 

Maui's home was placed by some of the Hawaiian 
myths at Kauiki, a foothill of the great extinct crater 
Haleakala, on the Island of Maui. It was here he 
lived when the sky was raised to its present position. 
Here was located the famous fort around which many 
battles were fought during the years immediately pre- 
ceding the coming of Captain Cook. This fort was held 
by warriors of the Island of Hawaii a number of years. 
It was from this home that Maui was supposed to have 
journeyed when he climbed Mt. Haleakala to ensnare 
the sun. 

And yet most of the Hawaiian legends place Maui's 
home by the rugged black lava beds of the Wailuku 
river near Hilo on the island of Hawaii. Here he lived 
when he found the way to make fire by rubbing sticks 
together, and when he killed Kuna, the great eel, and 
performed other feats of valor. He was supposed to 
cultivate the land on the north side of the river. His 
mother, usually known as Hina, had her home in a 


lava cave under the beautiful Rainbow Falls, one of 
the fine scenic attractions of Hilo. An ancient demi- 
god, wishing to destroy this home, threw a great mass 
of lava across the stream below the falls. The rising 
water was fast filling the cave. 

Hina called loudly to her powerful son Maui. He 
came quickly and found that a large and strong ridge 
of lava lay across the stream. One end rested against 
a small hill. Maui struck the rock on the other side 
of the hill and thus broke a new pathway for the river. 
The water swiftly flowed away and the cave remained 
as the home of the Maui family. 

According to the King Kalakaua family legend, trans- 
lated by Queen Liliuokalani, Maui and his brothers 
also made this place their home. Here he aroused the 
anger of two uncles, his mother's brothers, who were 
called "Tall Post" and "Short Post," because they 
guarded the entrance to a cave in which the Maui family 
probably had its home. 

"They fought hard with Maui, and were thrown, 
and red water flowed freely from Maui's forehead. This 
was the first shower by Maui." Perhaps some family 
discipline followed this knocking down of door posts, 
for it is said: 

"They fetched the sacred Awa bush, 

Then came the second shower by Maui; 

The third shower was when the elbow of Awa was broken; 

The fourth shower came with the sacred bamboo." 


Haul's mother, so says a New Zealand legend, had 
her home in the under-world as well as with her chil- 
dren. Maui determined to find the hidden dwelling 
place. His mother would meet the children in the 
evening and lie down to sleep with them and then 
disappear with the first appearance of dawn. Maui 
remained awake one night, and when all were asleep, 
arose quietly and stopped up every crevice by which 
a ray of light could enter. The morning came and the 
sun mounted up far up in the sky. At last his mother 
leaped up and tore away the things which shut out 
the light. 

"Oh, dear; oh, dear! She saw the sun high in the 
heavens; so she hurried away, crying at the thought 
of having been so badly treated by her own children." 

Maui watched her as she pulled up a tuft of grass 
and disappeared in the earth, pulling the grass back 
to its place. 

Thus Maui found the path to the under-world. Soon 
he transformed himself into a pigeon and flew down, 
through the cave, until he saw a party of people under 
a sacred tree, like those growing in the ancient first 
Hawaii. He flew to the tree and threw down berries 
upon the people. They threw back stones. At last 
he permitted a stone from his father to strike him, 
and he fell to the ground. "They ran to catch him, 
but lo! the pigeon had turned into a man." 

Then his father "took him to the water to be bap- 


tized" (possibly a modern addition to the legend). 
Prayers were offered and ceremonies passed through. 
But the prayers were incomplete and Maui's father 
knew that the gods would be angry and cause Maui's 
death, and all because in the hurried baptism a part 
of the prayers had been left unsaid. Then Maui re- 
turned to the upper world and lived again with his 

Maui commenced his mischievous life early, for 
Hervey Islanders say that one day the children were 
playing a game dearly loved by Polynesians hide- 
and-seek. Here a sister enters into the game and 
hides little Maui under a pile of dry sticks. His 
brothers could not find him, and the sister told them 
where to look. The sticks were carefully handled, but 
the child could not be found. He had shrunk himself 
so small that he was like an insect under some sticks 
and leaves. Thus early he began to use enchant- 

Maui's home, at the best, was only a sorry affair. 
Gods and demi-gods lived in caves and small grass 
houses. The thatch rapidly rotted and required con- 
tinual renewal. In a very short time the heavy rains 
beat through the decaying roof. The home was with- 
out windows or doors, save as low openings in the 
ends or sides allowed entrance to those willing to 
crawl through. Off on one side would be the rude 
shelter, in the shadow of which Hina pounded the 


bark of certain trees into wood pulp and then into 
strips of thin, soft wood-paper, which bore the name 
of "Kapa cloth." This cloth Hina prepared for the 
clothing of Maui and his brothers. Kapa cloth was 
often treated to a coat of coco-nut, or candle-nut oil, 
making it somewhat waterproof and also more durable. 

Here Maui lived on edible roots and fruits and raw 
fish, knowing little about cooked food, for the art of 
fire-making was not yet known. In later years Maui 
was supposed to live on the eastern end of the island 
Maui, and also in another home on the large island 
Hawaii, on which he discovered how to make fire 
by rubbing dry sticks together. Maui was the Poly- 
nesian Mercury. As a little fellow he was endowed 
with peculiar powers, permitting him to become in- 
visible or to change his human form into that of an 
animal. He was ready to take anything from any one 
by craft or force. Nevertheless, like the thefts of Mer- 
cury, his pranks usually benefited mankind. 

It is a little curious that around the different homes 
of Maui, there is so little record of temples and priests 
and altars. He lived too far back for priestly customs. 
His story is the rude, mythical survival of the days 
when of church and civil government there was none 
and worship of the gods was practically unknown, but 
every man was a law unto himself, and also to the 
other man, and quick retaliation followed any injury 



"Oh the great fish hook of Maui! 

Manai-i-ka-lani 'Made fast to the heavens' 
its name; 

An earth-twisted cord ties the hook. 
Engulfed from the lofty Kauiki. 
Its bait the red billed Alae, 
The bird made sacred to Hina. 
It sinks far down to Hawaii, 
Struggling and painfully dying. 
Caught is the land under the water, 
Floated up, up to the surface, 
But Hina hid a wing of the bird 
And broke the land under the water. 
Below, was the bait snatched away 
And eaten at once by the fishes, 
The Ulua of the deep muddy places." 

Chant of Kualii, about A. D. 1700. 

NE of Haul's homes was near Kauiki, a place 
well known throughout the Hawaiian Islands 
because of its strategic importance. For many 
years it was the site of a fort around which fierce bat- 

Leaping to Swim to Coral Reefs. 


ties were fought by the natives of the island Maui, 
repelling the invasions of their neighbors from Ha- 

Haleakala (the House of the Sun), the mountain 
from which Maui the demi-god snared the sun, looks 
down ten thousand feet upon the Kauiki headland. 
Across the channel from Haleakala rises Mauna Kea, 
" The White Mountain " the snow-capped which 
almost all the year round rears its white head in 
majesty among the clouds. 

In the snowy breakers of the surf which washes the 
beach below these mountains, are broken coral reefs 
the fishing grounds of the Hawaiians. Here near 
Kauiki, according to some Hawaiian legends, Maui's 
mother Hina had her grass house and made and dried 
her kapa cloth. Even to the present day it is one of 
the few places in the islands where the kapa is still 
pounded into sheets from the bark of the hibiscus and 
kindred trees. 

Here is a small bay partially reef-protected, over 
which year after year the moist clouds float and by 
day and by night crown the waters with rainbows 
the legendary sign of the home of the deified ones. 
Here when the tide is out the natives wade and swim, 
as they have done for centuries, from coral block to 
coral block, shunning the deep resting places of their 
dread enemy, the shark, sometimes esteemed divine. 
Out on the edge of the outermost reef they seek the 


shellfish which cling to the coral, or spear the large 
fish which have been left in the beautiful little lakes 
of the reef. Coral land is a region of the sea coast 
abounding in miniature lakes and rugged valleys and 
steep mountains. Clear waters with every motion of 
the tide surge in and out through sheltered caves and 
submarine tunnels, according to an ancient Hawaiian 

"Never quiet, never failing, never sleeping, 
Never very noisy is the sea of the sacred caves." 

Sea mosses of many hues are the forests which 
drape the hillsides of coral land and reflect the colored 
rays of light which pierce the ceaselessly moving 
waves. Down in the beautiful little lakes, under over- 
hanging coral cliffs, darting in and out through the 
fringes of seaweed, the purple mullet and royal red 
fish flash before the eyes of the fisherman. Sometimes 
the many-tinted glorious fish of paradise reveal their 
beauties, and then again a school of black and gold 
citizens of the reef follow the tidal waves around 
projecting crags and through the hidden tunnels 
from lake to lake, while above the fisherman follows 
spearing or snaring as best he can. Maui's brothers 
were better fishermen than he. They sought the deep 
sea beyond the reef and the larger fish. They made 
hooks of bone or of mother of pearl, with a straight, 
slender, sharp-pointed piece leaning backward at a 

In the Sea of Sacred Caves. 


sharp angle. This was usually a consecrated bit of 
bone or mother of pearl, and was supposed to have 
peculiar power to hold fast any fish which had taken 
the bait. 

These bones were usually taken from the body of 
some one who while living had been noted for great 
power or high rank. This sharp piece was tightly 
tied to the larger bone or shell, which formed the shank 
of the hook. The sacred barb of Maui's hook was a 
part of the magic bone he had secured from his ances- 
tors in the under-world the bone with which he struck 
the sun while lassooing him and compelling him to 
move more slowly through the heavens. 

" Earth-twisted " fibres of vines twisted while 
growing, was the cord used by Maui in tying the parts 
of his magic hook together. 

Long and strong were the fish lines made from the 
olona fibre, holding the great fish caught from the 
depths of the ocean. The fibres of the olona vine were 
among the longest and strongest threads found in the 
Hawaiian Islands. 

Such a hook could easily be cast loose by the strug- 
gling fish, if the least opportunity were given. There- 
fore it was absolutely necessary to keep the line taut, 
and pull strongly and steadily, to land the fish in the 

Maui did not use his magic hook for a long time. 
He seemed to understand that it would not answer 


ordinary needs. Possibly the idea of making the 
supernatural hook did not occur to him until he had 
exhausted his lower wit and magic upon his brothers. 

It is said that Maui was not a very good fisherman. 
Sometimes his end of the canoe contained fish which 
his brothers had thought were on their hooks until 
they were landed in the canoe. 

Many times they laughed at him for his poor success, 
and he retaliated with his mischievous tricks. 

' ' E ! " he would cry, when one of his brothers began 
to pull in, while the other brothers swiftly paddled 
the canoe forward. ' ' E ! " See we both have caught 
great fish at the same moment. Be careful now. Your 
line is loose. Look out ! Look out ! ' ' 

All the time he would be pulling his own line in as 
rapidly as possible. Onward rushed the canoe. Each 
fisherman shouting to encourage the others. Soon the 
lines by the tricky manipulation of Maui would be 
crossed. Then as the great fish was brought near the 
side of the boat Maui the little, the mischievous one, 
would slip his hook toward the head of the fish and 
flip it over into the canoe causing his brother's line 
to slacken for a moment. Then his mournful cry 
rang out: "Oh, my brother, your fish is gone. Why 
did you not pull more steadily? It was a fine fish, 
and now it is down deep in the waters." Then Maui 
held up his splendid catch (from his brother's hook) 
and received somewhat suspicious congratulations. 


But what could they do? Maui was the smart one of 
the family. 

Their father and mother were both members of the 
household of the gods. The father was "the sup- 
porter of the heavens" and the mother was "the 
guardian of the way to the invisible world," but piti- 
fully small and very few were the gifts bestowed upon 
their children. Maui's brothers knew nothing beyond 
the average home life of the ordinary Hawaiian, and 
Maui alone was endowed with the power to work 
miracles. Nevertheless the student of Polynesian 
legends learns that Maui is more widely known than 
almost all the demi-gods of all nations as a discoverer 
of benefits for his fellows, and these physical rather 
than spiritual. After many fishing excursions Maui's 
brothers seemed to have wit enough to understand his 
tricks, and thenceforth they refused to take him in 
their canoe when they paddled out to the deep-sea fish- 
ing grounds. Then those who depended upon Maui 
to supply their daily needs murmured against his poor 
success. His mother scolded him and his brothers ridi- 
culed him. 

In some of the Polynesian legends it is said that his 
wives and children complained because of his laziness 
and at last goaded him into a new effort. 

The ex-Queen Liliuokalani, in a translation of what 
is called "the family chant," says that Maui's mother 
sent him to his father for a hook with which to sup- 
ply her need. 


"Go hence to your father, 

'Tis there you find line and hook. 

This is the hook 'Made fast to the heavens ' 

' Manaia-ka-lani ' 'tis calle d. 

When the hook catches land 
It brings the old seas together. 
Bring hither the large Alae, 
The bird of Hina." 

When Maui had obtained his hook, he tried to go 
fishing with his brothers. He leaped on the end of 
their canoe as they pushed out into deep water. They 
were angry and cried out: "This boat is too small for 
another, Maui." So they threw him off and made him 
swim back to the beach. When they returned from 
their day's work, they brought back only a shark. 
Maui told them if he had been with them better fish 
would have been upon their hooks the Ulua, for in- 
stance, or, possibly, the Pimoe the king of fish. At 
last they let him go far out outside the harbor of 
Kipahula to a place opposite Ka Iwi o Pele, "The bone 
of Pele," a peculiar piece of lava lying near the beach 
at Hana on the eastern side of the island Maui. There 
they fished, but only sharks were caught. The brothers 
ridiculed Maui, saying: "W"here are the Ulua, and 
where is Pimoe?" 

Then Maui threw his magic hook into the sea, baited 
with one of the Alae birds, sacred to his mother Hina. 
He used the incantation, "When I let go my hook 
with divine power, then I get the great Ulua." 


The bottom of the sea began to move. Great waves 
arose, trying to carry the canoe away. The fish 
pulled the canoe two days, drawing the line to its fullest 
extent. When the slack began to come in the line, 
because of the tired fish, Maui called for the brothers 
to pull hard against the coming fish. Soon land rose 
out of the water. Maui told them not to look back 
or the fish would be lost. One brother did look back 
the line slacked, snapped, and broke, and the land lay 
behind them in islands. 

One of the Hawaiian legends also says that while 
the brothers were paddling in full strength, Maui saw 
a calabash floating in the water. He lifted it into the 
canoe, and behold! his beautiful sister Hina of the 
sea. The brothers looked, and the separated islands 
lay behind them, free from the hook, while Cocoanut 
Island the dainty spot of beauty in Hilo harbor 
was drawn up a little ledge of lava in later years 
the home of a cocoanut grove. 

The better, the more complete, legend comes from 
New Zealand, which makes Maui so mischievous that 
his brothers refuse his companionship and therefore, 
thrown on his own resources, he studies how to make 
a hook which shall catch something worth while. In 
this legend Maui is represented as making his own 
hook and then pleading with his brothers to let him 
go with them once more. But they hardened their 
hearts against him, and refused again and again. 


Maui possessed the power of changing himself into 
different forms. At one time while playing with his 
brothers he had concealed himself for them to find. 
They heard his voice in a corner of the house but 
could not find him. Then under the mats on the floor, 
but again they could not find him. There was only an 
insect creeping on the floor. Suddenly they saw their 
little brother where the insect had been. Then they 
knew he had been tricky with them. So in these fishing 
days he resolved to go back to his old ways and cheat 
his brothers into carrying him with them to the great 
fishing grounds. 

Sir George Grey says that the New Zealand Maui 
went out to the canoe and concealed himself as an 
insect in the bottom of the boat so that when the early 
morning light crept over the waters and his brothers 
pushed the canoe into the surf they could not see him. 
They rejoiced that Maui did not appear, and paddled 
away over the waters. 

They fished all day and all night and on the morn- 
ing of the next day, out from among the fish in the 
bottom of the boat came their troublesome brother. 

They had caught many fine fish and were satisfied, 
so thought to paddle homeward; but their younger 
brother pleaded with them to go out, far out, to the 
deeper seas and permit him to cast his hook. He said 
he wanted larger and better fish than any they had 

Spearing Fish. 


So they paddled to their outermost fishing grounds 
but this did not satisfy Maui 

"Farther out on the waters, 

O! my brothers, 

I seek the great fish of the sea." 

It was evidently easier to work for him than to argue 
with him therefore far out in the sea they went. The 
home land disappeared from view; they could see 
only the outstretching waste of waters. Maui urged 
them out still farther. Then he drew his magic hook 
from under his malo or loin-cloth. The brothers won- 
dered what he would do for bait. The New Zealand 
legend says that he struck his nose a mighty blow until 
the blood gushed forth. When this blood became clotted, 
he fastened it upon his hook and let it down into the 
deep sea. 

Down it went to the very bottom and caught the 
under world. It was a mighty fish but the brothers 
paddled with all their might and main and Maui pulled 
in the line. It was hard rowing against the power 
which held the hook down in the sea depths but the 
brothers became enthusiastic over Maui's large fish, 
and were generous in their strenuous endeavors. Every 
muscle was strained and every paddle held strongly 
against the sea that not an inch should be lost. There 
was no sudden leaping and darting to and fro, no 
"give" to the line; no "tremble" as when a great fish 


would shake itself in impotent wrath when held captive 
by a hook. It was simply a struggle of tense muscle 
against an immensely heavy dead weight. To the 
brothers there came slowly the feeling that Maui was 
in one of his strange moods and that something beyond 
their former experiences with their tricky brother was 
coming to pass. 

At last one of the brothers glanced backward. With 
a scream of intense terror he dropped his paddle. The 
others also looked. Then each caught his paddle and 
with frantic exertion tried to force their canoe onward. 
Deep down in the heavy waters they pushed their 
paddles. Out of the great seas the black, ragged head 
of a large island was rising like a fish it seemed to 
be chasing them through the boiling surf. In a little 
while the water became shallow around them, and their 
canoe finally rested on a black beach. 

Maui for some reason left his brothers, charging 
them not to attempt to cut up this great fish. But 
the unwise brothers thought they would fill the canoe 
with part of this strange thing which they had caught. 
They began to cut up the back and put huge slices 
into their canoe. But the great fish the island 
shook under the blows and with mighty earthquake 
shocks tossed the boat of the brothers, and their canoe 
was destroyed. As they were struggling in the waters, 
the great fish devoured them. The island came up 
more and more from the waters but the deep gashes 


made by Haul's brothers did not heal they be- 
came the mountains and valleys stretching from sea 
to sea. 

White of New Zealand says that Maui went down 
into the underworld to meet his great ancestress, who 
was one side dead and one side alive. From the dead 
side he took the jaw bone, made a magic hook, and 
went fishing. When he let the hook down into the 
sea, he called: 

"Take my bait. O Depths! 
Confused you are. O Depths! 
And coming upward." 

Thus he pulled up Ao-tea-roa one of the large 
islands of New Zealand. On it were houses, with 
people around them. Fires were burning. Maui 
walked over the island, saw with wonder the strange 
men and the mysterious fire. He took fire in his hands 
and was burned. He leaped into the sea, dived deep, 
came up with the other large island on his shoulders. 
This island he set on fire and left it always burning. 
It is said that the name for New Zealand given to 
Captain Cook was Te ika o Maui, "The fish of Maui." 
Some New Zealand natives say that he fished up the 
island on which dwelt "Great Hina of the Night," who 
finally destroyed Maui while he was seeking immor- 

One legend says that Maui fished up apparently 


from New Zealand the large island of the Tongas. He 
used this chant: 

"0 Tonga-nui! 
Why art Thou 
Sulkily biting, biting below f 
Beneath the earth 
The power is felt, 
The foam is seen, 


O thou loved grandchild 
Of Tangaroa-meha. " 

This is an excellent poetical description of the great 
fish delaying the quick hard bite. Then the island 
comes to the surface and Maui, the beloved grandchild 
of the Polynesian god Kanaloa, is praised. 

It was part of one of the legends that Maui changed 
himself into a bird and from the heavens let down a 
line with which he drew up land, but the line broke, 
leaving islands rather than a mainland. About two 
hundred lesser gods went to the new islands in a large 
canoe. The greater gods punished them by making 
them mortal. 

Turner, in his book on Samoa, says there were three 
Mauis, all brothers. They went out fishing from 
Rarotonga. One of the brothers begged the "goddess 
of the deep rocks" to let his hooks catch land. Then 
the island Manahiki was drawn up. A great wave 
washed two of the Mauis away. The other Maui 


found a great house in which eight hundred gods 
lived. Here he made his home until a chief from 
Rarotonga drove him away. He fled into the sky, 
but as he leaped he separated the land into two 

Other legends of Samoa say that Tangaroa, the great 
god, rolled stones from heaven. One became the 
island Savaii, the other became Upolu. A god is 
sometimes represented as passing over the ocean with 
a bag of sand. Wherever he dropped a little sand 
islands sprang up. 

Paton, the earnest and honored missionary of the 
New Hebrides Islands, evidently did not know fthe 
name Mauitikitiki, so he spells the name of the fisher- 
man Ma-tshi-ktshi-ki, and gives the myth of the fish- 
ing up of the various islands. The natives said that 
Maui left footprints on the coral reefs of each island 
where he stood straining and lifting in his endeavors 
to pull up each other island. He threw his line around 
a large island intending to draw it up and unite it 
with the one on which he stood, but his line broke. 
Then he became angry and divided into two parts 
the island on which he stood. This same Maui is re- 
corded by Mr. Paton as being in a flood which put 
out one volcano Maui seized another, sailed across 
to a neighboring island and piled it upon the top of 
the volcano there, so the fire was placed out of reach 
of the flood. 


In the Hervey Group of the Tahitian or Society 
Islands the same story prevails and the natives point 
out the place where the hook caught and a print was 
made by the foot in the coral reef. But they add some 
very mythical details. Maui's magic fish-hook is thrown 
into the skies, where it continuously hangs, the curved 
tail of the constellation which we call Scorpio. Then 
one of the gods becoming angry with Maui seized him 
and threw him also among the stars. There he stays 
looking down upon his people. He has become a fixed 
part of the scorpion itself. 

The Hawaiian myths sometimes represent Maui as 
trying to draw the islands together while fishing them 
out of the sea. When they had pulled up the island 
of Kauai they looked back and were frightened. They 
evidently tried to rush away from the new monster 
and thus broke the line. Maui tore a side out of the 
small crater Kaula when trying to draw it to one of 
the other islands. Three aumakuas, three fishes sup- 
posed to be spirit-gods, guarded Kaula and defeated 
his purpose. At Hawaii Cocoanut Island broke off 
because Maui pulled too hard. Another place near 
Hilo on the large island of Hawaii where the hook 
was said to have caught is in the Wailuku river below 
Rainbow Falls. 

Maui went out from his home at Kauiki, fishing 
with his brothers. After they had caught some fine 
fish the brothers desired to return, but Maui persuaded 


them to go out farther. Then when they became tired 
and determined to go back, he made the seas stretch 
out and the shores recede until they could see no land. 
Then drawing the magic hook, he baited it with the 
Alae or sacred mud hen belonging to his Mother Hina. 
Queen Liliuokalani 's family chant has the following 
reference to this myth : 

"Maui longed for fish for Hina-akeahi (Hina of the fire, his 


Go hence to your father, 
There you will find line and hook. 
Manaiakalani is the hook. 
Where the islands are caught, 
The ancient seas are connected. 
The great bird Alae is taken, 
The sister bird, 
Of that one of the hidden fire of Maui." 

Maui evidently had no scruples against using any- 
thing which would help him carry out his schemes. 
He indiscriminately robbed his friends and the gods 

Down in the deep sea sank the hook with its strug- 
gling bait, until it was seized by "the land under the 
water. ' ' 

But Hina the mother saw the struggle of her sacred 
bird and hastened to the rescue. She caught a wing 
of the bird, but could not pull the Alae from the 
sacred hook. The wing was torn off. Then the fish 


gathered around the bait and tore it in pieces. If the 
bait could have been kept entire, then the land would 
have come up in a continent rather than as an island. 
Then the Hawaiian group would have been unbroken. 
But the bait broke and the islands came as frag- 
ments from the under world. 

Maui's hook and canoe are frequently mentioned in 
the legends. The Hawaiians have a long rock in 
the Wailuku river at Hilo which they call Maui's 
canoe. Different names were given to Maui's canoe 
by the Maoris of New Zealand. "Vine of Heaven," 
"Prepare for the North," "Land of the Receding Sea." 
His fish hook bore the name "Plume of Beauty." 

On the southern end of Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, 
there is a curved ledge of rocks extending out from 
the coast. This is still called by the Maoris "Maui's 
fish-hook," as if the magic hook had been so firmly 
caught in the jaws of the island that Maui could not 
disentangle it, but had been compelled to cut it off 
from his line. 

There is a large stone on the sea coast of North 
Kohala on the island of Hawaii which the Hawaiians 
point out as the place where Maui's magic hook 
caught the island and pulled it through the sea. 

In the Tonga Islands, a place known as Hounga is 
pointed out by the natives as the spot where the 
magic hook caught in the rocks. The hook itself was 

Here are the Canoes. 


said to have been in the possession of a chief -family 
for many generations. 

Another group of Hawaiian legends, very incom- 
plete, probably referring to Maui, but ascribed to 
other names, relates that a fisherman caught a large 
block of coral. He took it to his priest. After sacri- 
ficing, and consulting the gods, the priest advised the 
fisherman to throw the coral back into the sea with 
incantations. While so doing this block became Ha- 
waii-loa. The fishing continued and blocks of coral 
were caught and thrown back into the sea until all the 
islands appeared. Hints of this legend cling to other 
island groups as well as to the Hawaiian Islands. 
Fornander credits a fisherman from foreign lands as 
thus bringing forth the Hawaiian Islands from the 
deep seas. The reference occurs in part of a chant 
known as that of a friend of Paao the priest who is 
supposed to have come from Samoa to Hawaii in the 
eleventh century. This priest calls for his com- 
panions : 

"Here are the canoes. Get aboard. 
Come along, and dwell on Hawaii with the green back. 
A land which was found in the ocean, 
A land thrown up from the sea 
From the very depths of Kanaloa, 
The white coral, in the watery caves, 
That was caught on the hook of the fisherman." 

The god Kanaloa is sometimes known as a ruler of 
the under-world, whose land was caught by Maui's 


hook and brought up in islands. Thus in the legends 
the thought has been perpetuated that some one of 
the ancestors of the Polynesians made voyages and 
discovered islands. 

In the time of Umi, King of Hawaii, there is the 
following record of an immense bone fish-hook, which 
was called the ' ' fish-hook of Maui : ' ' 

"In the night of Muku (the last night of the month), 
a priest and his servants took a man, killed him, and 
fastened his body to the hook, which bore the name 
Manai-a-ka-lani, and dragged it to the heiau (temple) 
as a ' fish, ' and placed it on the altar. ' ' 

This hook was kept until the time of Kamehameha 
I. From time to time he tried to break it, and pulled 
until he perspired. 

Peapea, a brother of Kaahumanu, took the hook 
and broke it. He was afraid that Kamehameha would 
kill him. Kaahumanu, however, soothed the King, 
and he passed the matter over. The broken bone was 
probably thrown away. 



>nC AUI 'S home was for a long time enveloped by 
j l\ darkness. The heavens had fallen down, or, 
rather, had not been separated from the earth. 
According to some legends, the skies pressed so closely 
and so heavily upon the earth that when the plants 
began to grow, all the leaves were necessarily flat. 
According to other legends, the plants had to push up 
the clouds a little, and thus caused the leaves to 
flatten out into larger surface, so that they could bet- 
ter drive the skies back and hold them in place. Thus 
the leaves became flat at first, and have so remained 
through all the days of mankind. The plants lifted the 
sky inch by inch until men were able to crawl about 
between the heavens and the earth, and thus pass 
from place to place and visit one another. 

After a long time, according to the Hawaiian 
legends, a man, supposed to be Maui, came to a woman 
and said: "Give me a drink from your gourd cala- 


bash, and I will push the heavens higher." The 
woman handed the gourd to him. When he had taken 
a deep draught, he braced himself against the clouds 
and lifted them to the height of the trees. Again he 
hoisted the sky and carried it to the tops of the moun- 
tains; then with great exertion he thrust it upwards 
once more, and pressed it to the place it now occu- 
pies. Nevertheless dark clouds many times hang low 
along the eastern slope of Maui's great mountain 
Haleakala and descend in heavy rains upon the hill 
Kauwiki ; but they dare not stay, lest Maui the strong 
come and hurl them so far away that they cannot 
come back again. 

A man who had been watching the process of lift- 
ing the sky ridiculed Maui for attempting such a diffi- 
cult task. When the clouds rested on the tops of the 
mountains, Maui turned to punish his critic. The 
man had fled to the other side of the island. Maui 
rapidly pursued and finally caught him on the sea 
coast, not many miles north of the town now known 
as Lahaina. After a brief struggle the man was 
changed, according to the story, into a great black 
rock, which can be seen by any traveller who desires 
to localize the legends of Hawaii. 

> In Samoa Tiitii, the latter part of the full name of 
Mauikiikii, is used as the name of the one who braced 
his feet against the rocks and pushed the sky up. The 


foot-prints, some six feet long, are said to be shown 
by the natives. 

Another Samoan story is almost like the Hawaiian 
legend. The heavens had fallen, people crawled, but 
the leaves pushed up a little; but the sky was uneven. 
Men tried to walk, but hit their heads, and in this con- 
fined space it was very hot. A woman rewarded a 
man who lifted the sky to its proper place by giving 
him a drink of water from her cocoanut shell. 

A number of small groups of islands in the Pacific 
have legends of their skies being lifted, but they at- 
tribute the labor to the great eels and serpents of 
the sea. 

One of the Ellice group, Niu Island, says that as 
the serpent began to lift the sky the people clapped 
their hands and shouted "Lift up!" "High!" 
"Higher!" But the body of the serpent finally broke 
into pieces which became islands, and the blood 
sprinkled its drops on the sky and became stars. 

One of the Samoan legends says that a plant called 
daiga, which had one large umbrella-like leaf, pushed 
up the sky and gave it its shape. 

The Vatupu, or Tracey Islanders, said at one time 
the sky and rocks were united. Then steam or clouds 
of smoke rose from the rocks, and, pouring out in 
volumes, forced the sky away from the earth. Man 
appeared in these clouds of steam or smoke. Perspira- 
tion burst forth as this man forced his way through 


the heated atmosphere. From this perspiration woman 
was formed. Then were born three sons, two of 
whom pushed up the sky. One, in the north, pushed 
as far as his arms would reach. The one in the south 
was short and climbed a hill, pushing as he went up, 
until the sky was in its proper place. 

The Gilbert Islanders say the sky was pushed up 
by men with long poles. 

The ancient New Zealanders understood incanta- 
tions by which they could draw up or discover. They 
found a land where the sky and the earth were united. 
They prayed over their stone axe and cut the sky and 
land apart. "Hau-hau-tu" was the name of the great 
stone axe by which the sinews of the great heaven 
above were severed, and Rangi (sky) was separated 
from Papa (earth). 

The New Zealand Maoris were accustomed to say 
that at first the sky rested close upon the earth and 
therefore there was utter darkness for ages. Then 
the six sons of heaven and earth, born during this 
period of darkness, felt the need of light and discussed 
the necessity of separating their parents the sky from 
the earth and decided to attempt the work. 

Kongo (Hawaiian god Lono) the "father of food 
plants," attempted to lift the sky, but could not tear 
it from the earth. Then Tangaroa (Kanaloa), the 
"father of fish and reptiles," failed. Haumia Tiki-tiki 
who was the "father of wild food plants," could 


not raise the clouds. Then Tu (Hawaiian Ku), the 
"father of fierce men," struggled in vain. But Tane 
(Hawaiian Kane), the "father of giant forests," 
pushed and lifted until he thrust the sky far up above 
him. Then they discovered their descendants the 
multitude of human beings who had been living on 
the earth concealed and crushed by the clouds. After- 
wards the last son, Tawhiri (father of storms), was 
angry and waged war against his brothers. He hid 
in the sheltered hollows of the great skies. There he 
begot his vast brood of winds and storms with which 
he finally drove all his brothers and their descendants 
into hiding places on land and sea. The New Zea- 
landers mention the names of the canoes in which 
their ancestors fled from the old home Hawaiki. 

Tu (father of fierce men) and his descendants, how- 
ever, conquered wind and storm and have ever since 
held supremacy. 

The New Zealand legends also say that heaven and 
earth have never lost their love for each other. "The 
warm sighs of earth ever ascend from the wooded 
mountains and valleys, and men call them mists. The 
sky also lets fall frequent tears which men term dew 

The Manihiki islanders say that Maui desired to 
separate the sky from the earth. His father ( Ru, was 
the supporter of the heavens. Maui persuaded him to 
assist in lifting the burden. Maui went to the north 


and crept into a place, where, lying prostrate under 
the sky, he could brace himself against it and push 
with great power. In the same way Ru went to the 
south and braced himself against the southern skies. 
Then they made the signal, and both pressed "with 
their backs against the solid blue mass." It gave way 
before the great strength of the father and son. Then 
they lifted again, bracing themselves with hands and 
knees against the earth. They crowded it and bent it 
upward. They were able to stand with the sky resting 
on their shoulders. They heaved against the bending 
mass, and it receded rapidly. They quickly put the 
palms of their hands under it; then the tips of their 
fingers, and it retreated farther and farther. At last, 
"drawing themselves out to gigantic proportions, they 
pushed the entire heavens up to the very lofty position 
which they have ever since occupied." 

But Maui and Ru had not worked perfectly to- 
gether; therefore the sky was twisted and its surface 
was very irregular. They determined to smooth the 
sky before they finished their task, so they took large 
stone adzes and chipped off the rough protuberances 
and ridges, until by and by the great arch was cut out 
and smoothed off. They then took finer tools and 
chipped and polished until the sky became the beau- 
tifully finished blue dome which now bends around 
the earth. 

The Hervey Island myth, as related by "W. W. Gill, 


states that Ru, the father of Maui, came from Avaiki 
(Hawa-iki), the underworld or abode of the spirits 
of the dead. He found men crowded down by the 
sky, which was a mass of solid blue stone. He was 
very sorry when he saw the condition of the inhabi- 
tants of the earth, and planned to raise the sky a little. 
So he planted stakes of different kinds of trees. These 
were strong enough to hold the sky so far above the 
earth 'that men could stand erect and walk about 
without inconvenience." This was celebrated in one 
of the Hervey Island songs: 

"Force up the heavens, 

O, Eu! 

And let the space be clear." 

For this helpful deed Ru received the name "The 
supporter of the heavens." He was rather proud of 
his achievement and was gratified because of the 
praise received. So he came sometimes and looked at 
the stakes and the beautiful blue sky resting on them. 
Maui, the son, came along and ridiculed his father for 
thinking so much of his work. Maui is not repre- 
sented, in the legends, as possessing a great deal of 
love and reverence for his relatives provided his af- 
fection interfered with his mischief; so it was not at 
all strange that he laughed at his father. Ru became 
angry and said to Maui: "Who told youngsters to 
talk? Take care of yourself, or I will hurl you out 
of existence." 


Maui dared him to try it. Ru quickly seized him 
and "threw him to a great height." But Maui changed 
himself to a bird and sank back to earth unharmed. 

Then he changed himself back into the form of a 
man, and, making himself very large, ran and thrust 
his head between the old man's legs. He pried and 
lifted until Ru and the sky around him began to give. 
Another lift and he hurled them both to such a height 
that the sky could not come back. 

Ru himself was entangled among the stars. His 
head and shoulders stuck fast, and he could not free 
himself. How he struggled, until the skies shook, 
while Maui went away. Maui was proud of his 
achievement in having moved the sky so far away. 
In this self -rejoicing he quickly forgot his father. 

Ru died after a time. "His body rotted away and 
his bones, of vast proportions, came tumbling down 
from time to time, and were shivered on the earth into 
countless fragments. These shattered bones of Ru 
are scattered over every hill and valley of one of the 
islands, to the very edge of the sea." 

Thus the natives of the Hervey Islands account for 
the many pieces of porous lava and the small pieces 
of pumice stone found occasionally in their islands. 
The "bones" were very light and greatly resembled 
fragments of real bone. If the fragments were large 
enough they were sometimes taken and worshiped as 
gods. One of these pieces, of extraordinary size, was 


given to Mr. Gill when the natives were bringing in 
a large collection of idols. "This one was known as 
'The Light Stone,' and was worshiped as the god of 
the wind and the waves. Upon occasions of a hurri- 
cane, incantations and offerings of food would be 
made to it." 

Thus, according to different Polynesian legends, 
Maui raised the sky and made the earth inhabitable 
for his fellow-men. 



"Maui became restless and fought the sun 
With a noose that he laid. 
And winter won the sun, 
And summer was won by Maui. " 

Queen Liliuokalani 'B Family Chant. 

HVERY unique legend is found among the 
widely-scattered Polynesians. The story of 
Maui's "Snaring the Sun" was told among 
the Maoris of New Zealand, the Kanakas of the Her- 
vey and Society Islands, and the ancient natives of 
Hawaii. The Samoans tell the same story without 
mentioning the name of Maui. They say that the 
snare was cast by a child of the sun itself. 

The Polynesian stories of the origin of the sun are 
worthy of note before the legend of the change from 
short to long days is given. 

The Rarotongans, according to W. "W. Gill, tell 
the story of the origin of the sun and moon. They 


say that Vatea (Wakea) and their ancestor Tongaiti 
quarreled concerning a child each claiming it as his 
own. In the struggle the child was cut in two. Vatea 
squeezed and rolled the part he secured into a ball 
and threw it away, far up into the heavens, where it 
became the sun. It shone brightly as it rolled along 
the heavens, and sank down to Avaiki (Hawaiki), the 
nether world. But the ball came back again and once 
more rolled across the sky. Tonga-iti had let his half 
of the child fall on the ground and lie there, until 
made envious by the beautiful ball Vatea made. 

At last he took the flesh which lay on the ground 
and made it into a ball. As the sun sank he threw 
his ball up into the darkness, and it rolled along the 
heavens, but the blood had drained out of the flesh 
while it lay upon the ground, therefore it could not 
become so red and burning as the sun, and had not 
life to move so swiftly. It was as white as a dead 
body, because its blood was all gone; and it could not 
make the darkness flee away as the sun had done. 
Thus day and night and the sun and moon always 
remain with the earth. 

The legends of the Society Islands say that a demon 
in the west became angry with the sun and in his 
rage ate it up, causing night. In the same way a 
demon from the east would devour the moon, but for 
some reason these angry ones could not destroy their 
captives and were compelled to open their mouths 


and let the bright balls come forth once more. In 
some places a sacrifice of some one of distinction was 
needed to placate the wrath of the devourers and free 
the balls of light in times of eclipse. 

The moon, pale and dead in appearance, moved 
slowly; while the sun, full of life and strength, moved 
quickly. Thus days were very short and nights were 
very long. Mankind suffered from the fierceness of 
the heat of the sun and also from its prolonged ab- 
sence. Day and night were alike a burden to men. 
The darkness was so great and lasted so long that 
fruits would not ripen. 

After Maui had succeeded in throwing the heavens 
into their place, and fastening them so that they could 
not fall, he learned that he had opened a way for the 
sun-god to come up from the lower world and rapidly 
run across the blue vault. This made two troubles 
for men the heat of the sun was very great and the 
journey too quickly over. Maui planned to capture 
the sun and punish him for thinking so little about 
the welfare of mankind. 

As Rev. A. 0. Forbes, a missionary among the Ha- 
waiians, relates, Maui's mother was troubled very 
much by the heedless haste of the sun. She had many 
kapa-cloths to make, for this was the only kind of 
clothing known in Hawaii, except sometimes a woven 
mat or a long grass fringe worn as a skirt. This na- 
tive cloth was made by pounding the fine bark of cer- 

lao Mountain from the Sea. 


tain trees with wooden mallets until the fibres were 
beaten and ground into a wood pulp. Then she 
pounded the pulp into thin sheets from which the 
best sleeping mats and clothes could be fashioned. 
These kapa cloths had to be thoroughly dried, but 
the days were so short that by the time she had 
spread out the kapa the sun had heedlessly rushed 
across the sky and gone down into the under-world, 
and all the cloth had to be gathered up again and 
cared for until another day should come. There were 
other troubles. "The food could not be prepared and 
cooked in one day. Even an incantation to the gods 
could not be chanted through ere they were overtaken 
by darkness." 

This was very discouraging and caused great suf- 
fering, as well as much unnecessary trouble and labor. 
Many complaints were made against the thoughtless 

Maui pitied his mother and determined to make the 
sun go slower that the days might be long enough to 
satisfy the needs of men. Therefore, he went over to 
the northwest of the island on which he lived. This 
was Mt. lao, an extinct volcano, in which lies one of 
the most beautiful and picturesque valleys of the 
Hawaiian Islands. He climbed the ridges until he 
could see the course of the sun as it passed over the 
island. He saw that the sun came up the eastern 
side of Mt. Haleakala. He crossed over the plain be- 


tween the two mountains and climbed to the top of 
Mt. Haleakala. There he watched the burning sun 
as it came up from Koolau and passed directly over 
the top of the mountain. The summit of Haleakala 
is a great extinct crater twenty miles in circumfer- 
ence, and nearly twenty-five hundred feet in depth. 
There are two tremendous gaps or chasms in the 
side of the crater wall, through which in days gone 
by the massive bowl poured forth its flowing lava. 
One of these was the Koolau, or eastern gap, in which 
Maui probably planned to catch the sun. 

Mt. Hale-a-ka-la of the Hawaiian Islands means 
House-of-the-sun. "La," or "Ra," is the name of the 
sun throughout parts of Polynesia. Ra was the sun- 
god of ancient Egypt. Thus the antiquities of Poly- 
nesia and Egypt touch each other, and today no man 
knows the full reason thereof. 

The Hawaiian legend says Maui was taunted by a 
man who ridiculed the idea that he could snare the 
sun, saying, "You will never catch the sun. You are 
only an idle nobody." 

Maui replied, "When I conquer my enemy and my 
desire is attained, I will be your death. ' ' 

After studying the path of the sun, Maui returned 
to his mother and told her that he would go and cut 
off the legs of the sun so that he could not run so 

His mother said: "Are you strong enough for this 


work?" He said, "Yes." Then she gave him fifteen 
strands of well-twisted fiber and told him to go to his 
grandmother, who lived in the great crater of Hale- 
akala, for the rest of the things in his conflict with 
the sun. She said: "You must climb the mountain 
to the place where a large wiliwili tree is standing. 
There you will find the place where the sun stops to 
eat cooked bananas prepared by your grandmother. 
Stay there until a rooster crows three times; then 
watch your grandmother go out to make a fire and 
put on food. You had better take her bananas. She 
will look for them and find you and ask who you are. 
Tell her you belong to Hina." 

When she had taught him all these things, he went 
up the mountain to Kaupo to the place Hina had di- 
rected. There was a large wiliwili tree. Here he 
waited for the rooster to crow. The name of that 
rooster was Kalauhele-moa. When the rooster had 
crowed three times, the grandmother came out with a 
bunch of bananas to cook for the sun. She took off 
the upper part of the bunch and laid it down. Maui 
immediately snatched it away. In a moment she 
turned to pick it up, but could not find it. She was 
angry and cried out: "Where are the bananas of the 
sun?" Then she took off another part of the bunch, 
and Maui stole that. Thus he did until all the bunch 
had been taken away. She was almost blind and 
could not detect him by sight, so she sniffed all around 


her until she detected the smell of a man. She asked: 
"Who are you? To whom do you belong?" Maui 
replied : ' ' I belong to Hina. " ' ' Why have you come ? ' ' 
Maui told her, "I have come to kill the sun. He goes 
so fast that he never dries the kapa Hina has beaten 

The old woman gave a magic stone for a battle axe 
and one more rope. She taught him how to catch the 
sun, saying: "Make a place to hide here by this large 
wiliwili tree. When the first leg of the sun comes up, 
catch it with your first rope, and so on until you have 
used all your ropes. Fasten them to the tree, then 
take the stone axe to strike the body of the sun." 

Maui dug a hole among the roots of the tree and 
concealed himself. Soon the first ray of light the 
first leg of the sun came up along the mountain side. 
Maui threw his rope and caught it. One by one the 
legs of the sun came over the edge of the crater's rim 
and were caught. Only one long leg was still hang- 
ing down the side of the mountain. It was hard for 
the sun to move that leg. It shook and trembled and 
tried hard to come up. At last it crept over the edge 
and was caught by Maui with the rope given by his 

When the sun saw that his sixteen long legs were 
held fast in the ropes, he began to go back down the 
mountain side into the sea. Then Maui tied the ropes 
fast to the tree and pulled until the body of the sun 


came up again. Brave Maui caught his magic stone 
club or axe, and began to strike and wound the sun, 
until he cried : ' ' Give me my life. ' ' Maui said : " If you 
live, you may be a traitor. Perhaps I had better kill 
you." But the sun begged for life. After they had 
conversed a while, they agreed that there should be 
a regular motion in the journey of the sun. There 
should be longer days, and yet half the time he might 
go quickly as in the winter time, but the other half he 
must move slowly as in summer. Thus men dwelling 
on the earth should be blessed. 

Another legend says that he made a lasso and climbed 
to the summit of Mt. Haleakala. He made ready his 
lasso, so that when the sun came up the mountain 
side and rose above him he could cast the noose and 
catch the sun, but he only snared one of the sun's 
larger rays and broke it off. Again and again he threw 
the lasso until he had broken off all the strong rays 
of the sun. 

Then he shouted exultantly, "Thou art my captive; 
I will kill thee for going so swiftly. ' ' 

Then the sun said, "Let me live and thou shalt see 
me go more slowly hereafter. Behold, hast thou not 
broken off all my strong legs and left me only the weak 

So the agreement was made, and Maui permitted 
the sun to pursue his course, and from that day he 
went more slowly. 


Maui returned from his conflict with the sun and 
sought for Moemoe, the man who had ridiculed him. 
Maui chased this man around the island from one 
side to the other until they had passed through La- 
haina (one of the first mission stations in 1828). There 
on the seashore near the large black rock of the legend 
of Maui lifting the sky he found Moemoe. Then they 
left the seashore and the contest raged up hill and 
down until Maui slew the man and "changed the body 
into a long rock, which is there to this day, by the side 
of the road going past Black Rock." 

Before the battle with the sun occurred Maui went 
down into the underworld, according to the New Zea- 
land tradition, and remained a long time with his rela- 
tives. In some way he learned that there was an en- 
chanted jawbone in the possession of some one of his 
ancestors, so he waited and waited, hoping that at last 
he might discover it. 

After a time he noticed that presents of food were 
being sent away to some person wfiom he had not met. 

One day he asked the messengers, "Who is it you 
are taking that present of food to?" 

The people answered, "It is for Muri, your ances- 

Then he asked for the food, saying, "I will carry it 
to her myself." 

But he took the food away and hid it. "And this 


he did for many days," and the presents failed to reach 
the old woman. 

By and by she suspected mischief, for it did not 
seem as if her friends would neglect her so long a 
time, so she thought she would catch the tricky one 
and eat him. She depended upon her sense of smell 
to detect the one who had troubled her. As Sir George 
Grey tells the story: "When Maui came along the 
path carrying the present of food, the old chief ess 
sniffed and sniffed until she was sure that she smelt 
some one coming. She was very much exasperated, and 
her stomach began to distend itself that she might be 
ready to devour this one when he came near. 

Then she turned toward the south and sniffed and 
not a scent of anything reached her. Then she turned 
to the north, and to the east, but could not detect the 
odor of a human being. She made one more trial and 
turned toward the west. Ah! then came the scent of 
a man to her plainly and she called out 'I know, from 
the smell wafted to 'me by the breeze, that somebody 
is close to me.' " 

Maui made known his presence and the old woman 
knew that he was a descendant of hers, and her stomach 
began immediately to shrink and contract itself 

Then she asked, "Art thou Maui?" 

He answered, "Even so," and told her that he 


wanted "the jaw-bone by which great enchantments 
could be wrought. ' ' 

Then Muri, the old chiefess, gave him the magic 
bone and he returned to his brothers, who were still 
living on the earth. 

Then Maui said: "Let us now catch the sun in a 
noose that we may compel him to move more slowly 
in order that mankind may have long days to labor in 
and procure subsistence for themselves." 

They replied, "No man can approach it on account 
of the fierceness of the heat." 

According to the Society Island legend, his mother 
advised him to have nothing to do with the sun, who 
was a divine living creature, "in form like a man, 
possessed of fearful energy," shaking his golden locks 
both morning and evening in the eyes of men. Many 
persons had tried to regulate the movements of the 
sun, but had failed completely. 

But Maui encouraged his mother and his brothers 
by asking them to remember his power to protect him- 
self by the use of enchantments. 

The Hawaiian legend says that Maui himself gath- 
ered cocoanut fibre in great quantity and manufac- 
tured it into strong ropes. But the legends of other 
islands say that he had the aid of his brothers, and 
while working learned many useful lessons. While 
winding and twisting they discovered how to make 
square ropes and flat ropes as well as the ordinary 


round rope. In the Society Islands, it is said, Maui 
and his brothers made six strong ropes of great length. 
These he called aeiariki (royal nooses). 

The New Zealand legend says that when Maui and 
his brothers had finished making all the ropes required 
they took provisions and other things needed and jour- 
neyed toward the east to find the place where the sun 
should rise. Maui carried with him the magic jaw-bone 
which he had secured from Muri, his ancestress, in 
the under-world. 

They travelled all night and concealed themselves by 
day so that the sun should not see them and become 
too suspicious and watchful. In this way they jour- 
neyed, until "at length they had gone very far to the 
eastward and had come to the very edge of the place 
out of which the sun rises. There they set to work 
and built on each side a long, high wall of clay, with 
huts of boughs of trees at each end to hide themselves 

Here they laid a large noose made from their ropes 
and Maui concealed himself on one side of this place 
along which the sun must come, while his brothers 
hid on the other side. 

Maui seized his magic enchanted jaw-bone as the 
weapon with which to fight the sun, and ordered his 
brothers to pull hard on the noose and not to be 
frightened or moved to set the sun free. 

"At last the sun came rising up out of his place like 


a fire spreading far and wide over the mountains and 

He rises up. 

His head passes through the noose. 

The ropes are pulled tight. 

Then the monster began to struggle and roll him- 
self about, while the snare jerked backwards and for- 
wards as he struggled. Ah! was not he held fast in 
the ropes of his enemies. 

Then forth rushed that bold hero Maui with his 
enchanted weapon. The sun screamed aloud and 
roared. Maui struck him fiercely with many blows. 
They held him for a long time. At last they let him 
go, and then weak from wounds the sun crept very 
slowly and feebly along his course." 

In this way the days were made longer so that men 
could perform their daily tasks and fruits and food 
plants could have time to grow. 

The legend of the Hervey group of islands says 
that Maui made six snares and placed them at inter- 
vals along the path over which the sun must pass. 
The sun in the form of a man climbed up from Ava- 
iki (Hawaiki). Maui pulled the first noose, but it 
slipped down the rising sun until it caught and was 
pulled tight around his feet. 

Maui ran quickly to pull the ropes of the second 
snare, but that also slipped down, down, until it was 
tightened around the knees. Then Maui hastened to 

Hale-a-Ka-la Crater, where the Sun was caught. 


the third snare, while the sun was trying to rush 
along on his journey. The third snare caught around 
the hips. The fourth snare fastened itself around the 
waist. The fifth slipped under the arms, and yet the 
sun sped along as if but little inconvenienced by 
Maui's efforts. 

Then Maui caught the last noose and threw it 
around the neck of the sun, and fastened the rope to 
a spur of rock. The sun struggled until nearly 
strangled to death and then gave up, promising Maui 
that he would go as slowly as was desired. Maui left 
the snares fastened to the sun to keep him in con- 
stant fear. 

"These ropes may still be seen hanging from the 
sun at dawn and stretching into the skies when he 
descends into the ocean at night. By the assistance 
of these ropes he is gently let down into Ava-iki in 
the evening, and also raised up out of shadow-land in 
the morning. ' ' 

Another legend from the Society Islands is related 
by Mr. Gill: 

Maui tried many snares before he could catch the 
sun. The sun was the Hercules, or the Samson, of 
the heavens. He broke the strong cords of cocoanut 
fibre which Maui made and placed around the opening 
by which the sun climbed out from the under-world. 
Maui made stronger ropes, but still the sun broke 
them every one. 


Then Maui thought of his sister's hair, the sister 
Inaika, whom he cruelly treated in later years. Her 
hair was long and beautiful. He cut off some of it 
and made a strong rope. With this he lassoed or 
rather snared the sun, and caught him around the 
throat. The sun quickly promised to be more thought- 
ful of the needs of men and go at a more reasonable 
pace across the sky. 

A story from the American Indians is told in Ha- 
waii's Young People, which is very similar to the 
Polynesian legends. 

An Indian boy became very angry with the sun for 
getting so warm and making his clothes shrink with 
the heat. He told his sister to make a snare. The 
girl took sinews from a large deer, but they shriveled 
under the heat. She took her own long hair and made 
snares, but they were burned in a moment. Then 
she tried the fibres of various plants and was success- 
ful. Her brother took the fibre cord and drew it 
through his lips. It stretched and became a strong 
red cord. He pulled and it became very long. He 
went to the place of sunrise, fixed his snare, and 
caught the sun. When the sun had been sufficiently 
punished, the animals of the earth studied the problem 
of setting the sun free. At last a mouse as large as a 
mountain ran and gnawed the red cord. It broke and 
the sun moved on, but the poor mouse had been 


burned and shriveled into the small mouse of the 
present day. 

A Samoan legend says that a woman living for a 
time with the sun bore a child who had the name 
" Child of the Sun." She wanted gifts for the child's 
marriage, so she took a long vine, climbed a tree, made 
the vine into a noose, lassoed the sun, and made him 
give her a basket of blessings. 

In Fiji, the natives tie the grasses growing on a 
hilltop over which they are passing, when traveling 
from place to place. They do this to make a snare to 
catch the sun if he should try to go down before they 
reach the end of their day's journey. 

This legend is a misty memory of some time when 
the Polynesian people .were in contact with the short 
days of the extreme north or south. It is a very re- 
markable exposition of a fact of nature perpetuated 
many centuries in lands absolutely free from such 
natural phenomena. 


"Grant, oh grant me thy hidden fire, 

O Banyan Tree. 
Perform an incantation, 
Utter a prayer 

To the Banyan Tree. 
Kindle a fire in the dust 

Of the Banyan Tree." 
Translation of ancient Polynesian chant. 

HMONG students of mythology certain charac- 
ters in the legends of the various nations are 
known as " culture heroes." Mankind has 
from time to time learned exceedingly useful lessons 
and has also usually ascribed the new knowledge to 
some noted person in the national mythology. These 
mythical benefactors who have brought these prac- 
tical benefits to men are placed among the "hero- 
gods." They have been teachers or "culture heroes" 
to mankind. 


Probably the fire finders of the different nations are 
among the best remembered of all these benefactors. 
This would naturally be the case, for no greater good 
has touched man's physical life than the discovery of 
methods of making fire. 

Prometheus, the classical fire finder, is most widely 
known in literature. But of all the helpful gods of 
mythology, Maui, the mischievous Polynesian, is be- 
yond question the hero of the largest number of na- 
tions scattered over the widest extent of territory. 
Prometheus belonged to Rome, but Maui belonged to 
the length and breadth of the Pacific Ocean. Theft 
or trickery, the use of deceit of some kind, is almost 
inseparably connected with fire finding all over the 
world. Prometheus stole fire from Jupiter and gave 
it to men together with the genius to make use of it 
in the arts and sciences. He found the rolling chariot 
of the sun, secretly filled his hollow staff with fire, 
carried it to earth, put a part in the breast of man to 
create enthusiasm or animation, and saved the re- 
mainder for the comfort of mankind to be used with 
the artist skill of Minerva and Vulcan. In Brittany 
the golden or fire-crested wren steals fire and is red- 
marked while so doing. The animals of the North 
American Indians are represented as stealing fire 
sometimes from the cuttle fish and sometimes from 
one another. Some swiftly-flying bird or fleet-footed 


coyote would carry the stolen fire to the home of the 

The possession of fire meant to the ancients all 
that wealth means to the family of today. It meant 
the possession of comfort. The gods were naturally 
determined to keep this wealth in their own hands. 
For any one to make a sharp deal and cheat a god 
of fire out of a part of this valuable property or to 
make a courageous raid upon the fire guardian and 
steal the treasure, was easily sufficient to make that 
one a "culture hero." As a matter of fact a prehis- 
toric family without fire would go to any length in 
order to get it. The fire finders would naturally be 
the hero-gods and stealing fire would be an exploit 
rather than a crime. 

It is worth noting that in many myths not only was 
fire stolen, but birds marked by red or black spots 
among their feathers were associated with the theft. 

It would naturally be supposed that the Hawaiians 
living in a volcanic country with ever-flowing foun- 
tains of lava, would connect their fire myths with some 
volcano when relating the story of the origin of fire. 
But like the rest of the Polynesians, they found fire 
in trees rather than in rivers of melted rock. They 
must have brought their fire legends and fire customs 
with them when they came to the islands of active 

Flint rocks as fire producers are not found in the 


Hawaiian myths, nor in the stories from the island 
groups related to the Hawaiians. Indians might see 
the fleeing buffalo strike fire from the stones under 
his hard hoofs. The Tartars might have a god to 
teach them "the secret of the stone's edge and the 
iron's hardness." The Peruvians could very easily 
form a legend of their mythical father Guamansuri 
finding a way to make fire after he had seen the sling 
stones, thrown at his enemies, bring forth sparks of 
fire from the rocks against which they struck. The 
thunder and the lightning of later years were the 
sparks and the crash of stones hurled among the cloud 
mountains by the mighty gods. 

In Australia the story is told of an old man and his 
daughter who lived in great darkness. After a time 
the father found the doorway of light through which 
the sun passed on his journey. He opened the door 
and a flood of sunshine covered the earth. His 
daughter looked around her home and saw numbers 
of serpents. She seized a staff and began to kill 
them. She wielded it so vigorously that it became hot 
in her hands. At last it broke, but the pieces rubbed 
against each other and flashed into sparks and flames. 
Thus it was learned that fire was buried in wood. 

Flints were known in Europe and Asia and Amer- 
ica, but the Polynesian looked to the banyan and kin- 
dred trees for the hidden sparks of fire. The natives 
of De Peyster's Island say that their ancestors learned 


how to make fire by seeing smoke rise from crossed 
branches rubbing together while trees were shaken 
by fierce winds. 

In studying the Maui myths of the Pacific it is 
necessary to remember that Polynesians use "t" and 
"k" without distinguishing them apart, and also as 
in the Hawaiian Islands an apostrophe (') is often 
used in place of "t" or "k". Therefore the Maui 
Ki-i-k-i'i of Hawaii becomes the demi-god Tiki-tiki of 
the Gilbert Islands or the Ti'i-ti'i of Samoa or the 
Tikitiki of New Zealand or other islands of the great 
ocean. We must also remember that in the Hawaiian 
legends Kalana is Maui's father. This in other groups 
becomes Talanga or Kalanga or Karanga. Kanaloa, 
the great god of most of the different Polynesians, is 
also sometimes called the Father of Maui. It is not 
strange that some of the exploits usually ascribed to 
Maui should be in some places transferred to his 
father under one name or the other. On one or two 
groups Mafuia, an ancestress of Maui, is mentioned 
as finding the fire. The usual legend makes Maui the 
one who takes fire away from Mafuia. The story of 
fire finding in Polynesia sifts itself to Maui under one 
of his widely-accepted names, or to his father or to 
his ancestress with but very few exceptions. This 
fact is important as showing in a very marked man- 
ner the race relationship of a vast number of the 
islanders of the Pacific world. From the Marshall 


Islands, in the west, to the Society Islands of the 
east; from the Hawaiian Islands in the north to the 
New Zealand group in the south, the footsteps of 
Maui the fire finder can be traced. 

The Hawaiian story of fire finding is one of the 
least marvelous of all the legends. Hina, Maui's 
mother, wanted fish. One morning early Maui saw 
that the great storm waves of the sea had died down 
and the fishing grounds could be easily reached. He 
awakened his brothers and with them hastened to the 
beach. This was at Kaupo on the island of Maui. 
Out into the gray shadows of the dawn they paddled. 
When they were far from shore they began to fish. 
But Maui, looking landward, saw a fire on the moun- 
tain side. 

' ' Behold, ' ' he cried. ' ' There is a fire burning. Whose 
can this fire be?" 

"Whose, indeed?" his brothers replied. 

"Let us hasten to the shore and cook our food," 
said one. 

They decided that they had better catch some fish to 
cook before they returned. Thus, in the morning, be- 
fore the hot sun drove the fish deep down to the dark 
recesses of the sea, they fished until a bountiful sup- 
ply lay in the bottom of the canoe. 

When they came to land, Maui leaped out and ran 
up the mountain side to get the fire. For a long, long 
time they had been without fire. The great volcano 


Haleakala above them had become extinct and they 
had lost the coals they had tried to keep alive. They 
had eaten fruits and uncooked roots and the shell fish 
broken from the reef and sometimes the great raw 
fish from the far-out ocean. But now they hoped to 
gain living fire and cooked food. 

But when Maui rushed up toward the cloudy pillar 
of smoke he saw a family of birds scratching the fire 
out. Their work was finished and they flew away just 
as he reached the place. 

Maui and his brothers watched for fire day after 
day but the birds, the curly-tailed Alae (or the mud- 
hens) made no fire. Finally the brothers went fishing 
once more but when they looked toward the moun- 
tain, again they saw flames and smoke. Thus it hap- 
pened to them again and again. 

Maui proposed to his brothers that they go fishing 
leaving him to watch the birds. But the Alae counted 
the fishermen and refused to build a fire for the hidden 
one who was watching them. They said among them- 
selves, "Three are in the boat and we know not where 
the other one is, we will make no fire today." 

So the experiment failed again and again. If one 
or two remained or if all waited on the land there 
would be no fire but the dawn which saw the four 
brothers in the boat, saw also the fire on the land. 

Finally Maui rolled some kapa cloth together and 
stuck it up in one end of the canoe so that it would 


look like a man. He then concealed himself near the 
haunt of the mud-hens, while his brothers went out 
fishing. The birds counted the figures in the boat and 
then started to build a heap of wood for the fire. 

Maui was impatient and just as the old Alae be- 
gan to select sticks with which to make the flames 
he leaped swiftly out and caught her and held her 
prisoner. He forgot for a moment that he wanted the 
secret of fire making. In his anger against the wise 
bird his first impulse was to taunt her and then kill 
her for hiding the secret of fire. 

But the Alae cried out: "If you are the death of 
me my secret will perish also and you cannot have 

Maui then promised to spare her life if she would 
tell him what to do. 

Then came the contest of wits. The bird told the 
demi-god to rub the stalks of water plants together. 
He guarded the bird and tried the plants. Water in- 
stead of fire ran out of the twisted stems. Then she 
told him to rub reeds together but they bent and 
broke and could make no fire. He twisted her neck 
until she was half dead then she cried out: "I have 
hidden the fire in a green stick." 

Maui worked hard, but not a spark of fire appeared. 
Again he caught his prisoner by the head and wrung 
her neck, and she named a kind of dry wood. Maui 
rubbed the sticks together, but they only became warm. 


The neck twisting process was resumed and repeated 
again and again, until the mud-hen was almost dead 
and Maui had tried tree after tree. At last Maui 
found fire. Then as the flames rose he said: "There 
is one more thing to rub." He took a fire stick and 
rubbed the top of the head of his prisoner until the 
feathers fell off and the raw flesh appeared. Thus 
the Hawaiian mud-hen and her descendants have ever 
since had bald heads, and the Hawaiians have had the 
secret of fire making. 

Another Hawaiian legend places the scene of Maui's 
contest with the mud-hens a little inland of the town 
of Hilo on the Island of Hawaii. There are three 
small extinct craters very near each other known as 
The Halae Hills. One, the southern or Puna side of 
the hills, is a place called Pohaku-nui. Here dwelt 
two brother birds of the Alae family. They were gods. 
One had the power of fire making. Here at Pohaku- 
nui they were accustomed to kindle a fire and bake 
their dearly loved food baked bananas. Here Maui 
planned to learn the secret of fire. The birds had 
kindled the fire and the bananas were almost done, 
when the elder Alae called to the younger: "Be quick, 
here comes the swift son of Hina." 

The birds scratched out the fire, caught the bananas 
and fled. Maui told his mother he would follow them 
until he learned the secret of fire. His mother en- 
couraged him because he was very strong and very 


swift. So he followed the birds from place to place 
as they fled from him, finding new spots on which to 
make their fires. At last they came to Waianae on 
the island Oahu. There he saw a great fire and a 
multitude of birds gathered around it, chattering 
loudly and trying to hasten the baking of the bananas. 
Their incantation was this: "Let us cook quick." 
"Let us cook quick." "The swift child of Hina will 
come. ' ' 

Maui's mother Hina had taught him how to know 
the fire-maker. "If you go up to the fire, you will 
find many birds. Only one is the guardian. This is 
the small, young Alae. His name is Alae-iki: Only 
this one knows how to make fire." So whenever 
Maui came near to the fire-makers he always sought 
for the little Alae. Sometimes he made mistakes and 
sometimes almost captured the one he desired. At 
Waianae he leaped suddenly among the birds. They 
scattered the fire, and the younger bird tried 
to snatch his banana from the coals and flee, 
but Maui seized him and began to twist his 
neck. The bird cried out, warning Maui not to 
kill him or he would lose the secret of fire altogether. 
Maui was told that the fire was made from a banana 
stump. He saw the bananas roasting and thought 
this was reasonable. So, according to directions, he 
began to rub together pieces of the banana. The bird 
hoped for an unguarded moment when he might es- 


cape, but Maui was very watchful and was also very 
angry when he found that rubbing only resulted in 
squeezing out juice. Then he twisted the neck of the 
bird and was told to rub the stem of the taro plant. 
This also was so green that it only produced water. 
Then he was so angry that he nearly rubbed the head 
of the bird off and the bird, fearing for its life, told 
the truth and taught Maui how to find the wood in 
which fire dwelt. 

They learned to draw out the sparks secreted in dif- 
ferent kinds of trees. The sweet sandalwood was one 
of these fire trees. Its Hawaiian name is "Ili-ahi" 
the "ili" (bark) and "ahi" (fire), the bark in which 
fire is concealed. 

A legend of the Society Islands is somewhat similar. 
Ina (Hina) promised to aid Maui in finding fire for 
the islanders. She sent him into the under-world to 
find Tangaroa (Kanaloa). This god Tangaroa held 
fire in his possession Maui was to know him by his 
tattooed face. Down the dark path through the long 
caves Maui trod swiftly until he found the god. Maui 
asked him for fire to take up to men. The god gave 
him a lighted stick and sent him away. But Maui 
put the fire out and went back again after fire. This 
he did several times, until the wearied giver decided 
to teach the intruder the art of fire making. He called 
a white duck to aid him. Then, taking two sticks of 
dry wood, he gave the under one to the bird and 


rapidly moved the upper stick across the under until 
fire came. Maui seized the upper stick, after it had 
been charred in the flame, and burned the head of the 
bird back of each eye. Thus were made the black 
spots which mark the head of the white duck. Then 
arose a quarrel between Tangaroa and Maui but 
Maui struck down the god, and, thinking he had killed 
him, carried away the art of making fire. His father 
and mother made inquiries about their relative Maui 
hastened back to the fire fountain and made the spirit 
return to the body then, coming back to Ina, he bade 
her good bye and carried the fire sticks to the upper- 
world. The Hawaiians, and probably others among 
the Polynesians, felt that any state of unconsciousness 
was a form of death in which the spirit left the body, 
but was called back by prayers and incantations. 
Therefore, when Maui restored the god to conscious- 
ness, he was supposed to have made the spirit released 
by death return into the body and bring it back to 

In the Samoan legends as related by G. Turner, the 
name Ti'iti'i is used. This is the same as the second 
name found in Maui Ki'i-ki'i. The Samoan legend 
of Ti'iti'i is almost identical with the New Zealand 
fire myth of Maui, and is very similar to the story 
coming from the Hervey Islands, from Savage 
Island, and also from the Tokelau and other island 
groups. The Samoan story says that the home of 


Mafuie the earthquake god was in the land of perpetual 
fire. Haul's or Ti'iti'i's father Talanga (Kalana) was 
also a resident of the under-world and a great friend of 
the earthquake god. 

Ti'iti'i watched his father as he left his home in the 
upper-world. Talanga approached a perpendicular 
wall of rock, said some prayer or incantation and 
passed through a door which immediately closed after 
him. (This is a very near approach to the "open 
sesame" of the Arabian Nights stories.) 

Ti'iti'i went to the rock, but could not find the way 
through. He determined to conceal himself the next 
time so near that he could hear his father's words. 

After some days he was able to catch all the words 
uttered by his father as he knocked on the stone 

"O rock! divide. 
I am Talanga, 
I come to work 
On my land 
Given by Mafuie." 

Ti'iti'i went to the perpendicular wall and imitating 
his father's voice called for a rock to open. Down 
through a cave he passed until he found his father 
working in the under-world. 

The astonished father, learning how his son came, 
bade him keep very quiet and work lest he arouse the 


anger of Mafuie. So for a time the boy labored obedi- 
ently by his father's side. 

In a little while the boy saw smoke and asked what 
it was. The father told him that it was the smoke 
from the fire of Mafuie, and explained what fire 
would do. 

The boy determined to get some fire he went to 
the place from which the smoke arose and there found 
the god, and asked him for fire. Mafuie gave him fire 
to carry to his father. The boy quickly had an oven 
prepared and the fire placed in it to cook some of the 
taro they had been cultivating. Just as everything 
was ready an earthquake god came up and blew the 
fire out and scattered the stones of the oven. 

Then Ti'iti'i was angry and began to talk to Ma- 
fuie. The god attacked the boy, intending to punish 
him severely for daring to rebel against the destruc- 
tion of the fire. 

What a battle there was for a time in the under- 
world! At last Ti'iti'i seized one of the arms of Ma- 
fuie and broke it off. He caught the other arm and 
began to twist and bend it. 

Mafuie begged the boy to spare him. His right arm 
was gone. How could he govern the earthquakes if 
his left arm were torn off also? It was his duty to 
hold Samoa level and not permit too many earth- 
quakes. It would be hard to do that even with one 


arm but it would be impossible if both arms were 

Ti'iti'i listened to the plea and demanded a reward 
if he should spare the left arm. Mafuie offered Ti'iti'i 
one hundred wives. The boy did not want them. 

Then the god offered to teach him the secret of fire 
finding to take to the upper-world. 

The boy agreed to accept the fire secret, and thus 
learned that the gods in making the earth had con- 
cealed fire in various trees for men to discover in their 
own good time, and that this fire could be brought out 
by rubbing pieces of wood together. 

The people of Samoa have not had much faith in 
Mafuie 's plea that he needed his left arm in order to 
keep Samoa level. They say that Mafuie has a long 
stick or handle to the world under the islands and 
when he is angry or wishes to frighten them he moves 
this handle and easily shakes the islands. When an 
earthquake comes, they give thanks to Ti'iti'i for break- 
ing off one arm because if the god had two arms they 
believe he would shake them unmercifully. 

One legend of the Hervey Islands says that Maui and 
his brothers had been living on uncooked food but 
learned that their mother sometimes had delicious food 
which had been cooked. They learned also that fire 
was needed in order to cook their food. Then Maui 
wanted fire and watched his mother. 

Maui's mother was the guardian of the way to the 


invisible world. When she desired to pass from her 
home to the other world, she would open a black rock 
and pass inside. Thus she went to Hawaiki, the under- 
world. Maui planned to follow her, but first studied 
the forms of birds that he might assume the body of 
the strongest and most enduring. After a time he 
took the shape of a pigeon and, flying to the black 
rock, passed through the door and flew down the long 
dark passage-way. 

After a time he found the god of fire living in a 
bunch of banyan sticks. He changed himself into the 
form of a man and demanded the secret of fire. 

The fire-god agreed to give Maui fire if he would 
permit himself to be tossed into the sky by the god's 
strong arms. 

Maui agreed on condition that he should have the 
right to toss the fire-god afterwards. 

The fire-god felt certain that there would be only 
one exercise of strength he felt that he had every- 
thing in his own hands so readily agreed to the toss- 
ing contest. It was his intention to throw his opponent 
so high that when he fell, if he ever did fall, there 
would be no antagonist uncrushed. 

He seized Maui in his strong arms and, swinging 
him back and forth, flung him upward but the mo- 
ment Maui left his hands he changed himself into a 
feather and floated softly to the ground. 

Then the boy ran swiftly to the god and seized him 


by the legs and lifted him up. Then he began to in- 
crease in size and strength until he had lifted the fire 
god very high. Suddenly he tossed the god upward 
and caught him as he fell again and again until 
the bruised and dizzy god cried enough, and agreed to 
give the victor whatever he demanded. 

Maui asked for the secret of fire producing. The 
god taught him how to rub the dry sticks of certain 
kinds of trees together, and, by friction, produce fire, 
and especially how fire could be produced by rubbing 
fire sticks in the fine dust of the banyan tree. 

A Society Island legend says Maui borrowed a sa- 
cred red pigeon, belonging to one of the gods, and, 
changing himself into a dragon fly, rode this pigeon 
through a black rock into Avaiki (Hawaiki), the fire- 
land of the under-world. He found the god of fire, 
Mau-ika, living in a house built from a banyan tree. 
Mau-ika taught Maui the kinds of wood into which 
when fire went out on the earth a fire goddess had 
thrown sparks in order to preserve fire. Among these 
were the "au" (Hawaiian hau), or "the lemon hibis- 
cus" the "argenta," the "fig" and the "banyan." 
She taught him also how to make fire by swift motion 
when rubbing the sticks of these trees. She also gave 
him coals for his present need. 

But Maui was viciously mischievous and set the 
banyan house on fire, then mounted his pigeon and 
fled toward the upper-world. But the flames hastened 


after him and burst out through the rock doors into 
the sunlit land above as if it were a volcanic erup- 

The Tokelau Islanders say that Talanga (Kalana) 
known in other groups of islands as the father of 
Maui, desired fire in order to secure warmth and cooked 
food. He went down, down, very far down in the 
caves of the earth. In the lower world he found Ma- 
fuika an old blind woman, who was the guardian of 
fire. He told her he wanted fire to take back to men. 
She refused either to give fire or to teach how to make 
it. Talanga threatened to kill her, and finally per- 
suaded her to teach how to make fire in any place he 
might dwell and the proper trees to use, the fire- 
yielding trees. She also taught him how to cook food 
and also the kind of fish he should cook, and the 
kinds which should be eaten raw. Thus mankind learn- 
ed about food as well as fire. 

The Savage Island legend adds the element of dan- 
ger to Maui's mischievous theft of fire. The lad fol- 
lowed his father one day and saw him pull up a bunch 
of reeds and go down into the fire-land beneath. Maui 
hastened down to see what his father was doing. Soon 
he saw his opportunity to steal the secret of fire. Then 
he caught some fire and started for the upper- 

His father caught a glimpse of the young thief and 
tried to stop him. 


Maui ran up the passage through the black cave 
bushes and trees bordered his road. 

The father hastened after his son and was almost 
ready to lay hands upon him, when Maui set fire to 
the bushes. The flames spread rapidly, catching the 
underbrush and the trees on all sides and burst out in 
the face of the pursuer. Destruction threatened the 
under-world, but Maui sped along his way. Then he 
saw that the fire was chasing him. Bush after bush 
leaped into flame and hurled sparks and smoke and 
burning air after him. Choked and smoke-surrounded, 
he broke through the door of the cavern and found 
the fresh air of the world. But the flames followed 
him and swept out in great power upon the upper- 
world a mighty volcanic eruption. 

The New Zealand legends picture Maui as putting 
out, in one night, all the fires of his people. This 
was serious mischief, and Maui's mother decided that 
he should go to the under-world and see his ancestress, 
Mahuika, the guardian of fire, and get new fire to re- 
pair the injury he had wrought. She warned him 
against attempting to play tricks upon the inhabitants 
of the lower regions. 

Maui gladly hastened down the cave-path to the 
house of Mahuika, and asked for fire for the upper- 
world. In some way he pleased her so that she pulled 
off a finger nail in which fire was burning and gave 
it to him. As soon as he had gone back to a place 

Hawaiian Vines and Bushes. 


where there was water, he put the fire out and re- 
turned to Mahuika, asking another gift, which he de- 
stroyed. This he did for both hands and feet until 
only one nail remained. Maui wanted this. Then 
Mahuika became angry and threw the last finger nail 
on the ground. Fire poured out and laid hold of 
everything. Maui ran up the path to the upper-world, - 
but the fire was swifter-footed. Then Maui changed 
himself into an eagle and flew high up into the air, 
but the fire and smoke still followed him. Then he 
saw water and dashed into it, but it was too hot. 
Around him the forests were blazing, the earth burn- 
ing and the sea boiling. Maui, about to perish, called 
on the gods for rain. Then floods of water fell and 
the fire was checked. The great rain fell on Mahuika 
and she fled, almost drowned. Her stores of fire were 
destroyed, quenched by the storm. But in order to 
save fire for the use of men, as she fled she threw 
sparks into different kinds of trees where the rain could 
not reach them, so that when fire was needed it might 
be brought into the world again by rubbing together 
the fire sticks. 

The Chatham Islanders give the following incanta- 
tion, which they said was used by Maui against the 
fierce flood of fire which was pursuing him: 


"To the roaring thunder; 
To the great rain the long rain; 
To the drizzling rain the small rain; 
To the rain pattering on the leaves. 
These are the storms the storms 
Cause them to fall; 
To pour in torrents." 

The legend of Savage Island places Maui in the 
role of fire-maker. He has stolen fire in the under- 
world. His father tries to catch him, but Maui sets 
fire to the bushes by the path until a great conflagra- 
tion is raging which pursues him to the upper-world. 

Some legends make Maui the fire-teacher as well 
as the fire-finder. He teaches men how to use hard- 
wood sticks in the fine dry dust on the bark of cer- 
tain trees, or how to use the fine fibre of the palm 
tree to catch sparks. 

In Tahiti the fire god lived in the "Hale a-o-a," or 
House of the Banyan. Sometimes human sacrifices were 
placed upon the sacred branches of this tree of the 
fire god. 

In the Bowditch or Fakaofa Islands the goddess of 
fire when conquered taught not only the method of 
making fire by friction but also what fish were to be 
cooked and what were to be eaten raw. 

Thus some of the myths of Maui, the mischievous, 
finding fire are told by the side of the inrolling surf, 


while natives of many islands, around their poi bowls, 
rest in the shade of the far-reaching boughs and 
thick foliage of the banyan and other fire-producing 



HCCOKDING to the New Zealand legends there 
were six Mauis the Hawaiians counted four. 
They were a band of brothers. The older five 
were known as "the forgetful Mauis." The tricky and 
quick-witted youngest member of the family was called 
Maui te atamai "Maui the skilful." 

He was curiously accounted for in the New Zealand 
under-world. When he went down through the long 
cave to his ancestor's home to find fire, he was soon 
talked about. "Perhaps this is the man about whom 
so much is said in the upper- world. " His ancestress 
from whom he obtained fire recognized him as the 
man called "the deceitful Maui." Even his parents 
told him once, "We know you are a tricky fellow 
more so than any other man." One of the New Zea- 
land fire legends while recording his flight to the under- 
world and his appearance as a bird, says: "The men 
tried to spear him, and to catch him in nets. At last 


they cried out, 'Maybe you are the man whose fame is 
great in the upper- world. ' At once he leaped to the 
ground and appeared in the form of a man." 

He was not famous for inventions, but he was al- 
ways ready to improve upon anything which was al- 
ready in existence. He could take the sun in hand 
and make it do better work. He could tie the moon 
so that it had to swim back around the island to the 
place in the ocean from which it might rise again, and 
go slowly through the night. 

His brothers invented a slender, straight and smooth 
spear with which to kill birds. He saw the fluttering, 
struggling birds twist themselves off the smooth point 
and escape. He made a good light bird spear and put 
notches in it and kept most of the birds stuck. His 
brothers finally examined his spear and learned the rea- 
son for its superiority. In the same way they learned 
how to spear fish. They could strike and wound and 
sometimes kill but they could not with their smooth 
spears draw the fish from the waters of the coral caves. 
But Maui the youngest made barbs, so that the fish 
could not easily shake themselves loose. The others 
soon made their spears like his. 

The brothers were said to have invented baskets in 
which to trap eels, but many eels escaped. Maui im- 
proved the basket by secretly making an inside parti- 
tion as well as a cover, and the eels were securely 
trapped. It took the brothers a long time to learn 


the real difference between their baskets and his. One 
of the family made a basket like his and caught many 
eels. Then Maui became angry and chanted a curse 
over him and bewildered him, then changed him into a 

The Manahiki Islanders have the legend that Maui 
made the moon, but could not get good light from it. 
He tried experiments and found that the sun was quite 
an improvement. The sun's example stimulated the 
moon to shine brighter. 

Once Maui became interested in tattooing and tried 
to make a dog look better by placing dark lines around 
the mouth. The legends say that one of the sacred 
birds saw the pattern and then marked the sky with 
the red lines sometimes seen at sunrise and sunset. 
An Hawaiian legend says that Maui tattooed his arm 
with a sacred name and thus that arm was strong 
enough to hold the sun when he lassoed it. There is 
a New Zealand legend in which Maui is made one of 
three gods who first created man and then woman from 
one of the man's ribs. 

The Hawaiians dwelling in Hilo have many stories 
of Maui. They say that his home was on the north- 
ern bank of the Wailuku Eiver. He had a strong 
staff made from an ohia tree (the native apple tree). 
With this he punched holes through the lava, making 
natural bridges and boiling pools, and new channels 
for its sometimes obstructed waters, so that the people 


could go up or down the river more easily. Near one 
of the natural bridges is a figure of the moon carved 
in the rocks, referred by some of the natives to Maui. 

Maui is said to have taught his brothers the differ- 
ent kinds of fish nets and the use of the strong fibre 
of the olona, which was much better than cocoanut 

The New Zealand stories relate the spear-throwing 
contests of Maui and his brothers. As children, how- 
ever, they were not allowed the use of wooden spears. 
They took the stems of long, heavy reeds and threw 
them at each other, but Maui's reeds were charmed 
into stronger and harder fibre so that he broke his 
mother's house and made her recognize him as one 
of her children. He had been taken away as soon 
as he was born by the gods to whom he was related. 
When he found his way back home his mother paid 
no attention to him. Thus by a spear thrust he won a 

The brothers all made fish hooks, but Maui the 
youngest made two kinds of hooks one like his 
brothers' and one with a sharp barb. His brothers' 
hooks were smooth so that it was difficult to keep 
the fish from floundering and shaking themselves off, 
but they noticed that the fish were held by Maui's 
hook better than by theirs. Maui was not inclined to 
devote himself to hard work, and lived on his brothers 
as much as possible but when driven out by his 


wife or his mother he would catch more fish than the 
other fishermen. They tried to examine his hooks, 
but he always changed his hooks so that they could 
not see any difference between his and theirs. At 
such times they called him the mischievous one and 
tried to leave him behind while they went fishing. 
They were, however, always ready to give him credit 
for his improvements. They dealt generously with 
him when they learned what he had really accom- 
plished. When they caught him with his barbed hook 
they forgot the past and called him "ke atamai" the 

The idea that fish hooks made from the jawbones 
of human beings were better than others, seemed to 
have arisen at first from the angle formed in the lower 
jawbone. Later these human fish hooks were con- 
sidered sacred and therefore possessed of magic 
powers. The greater sanctity and power belonged to 
the bones which bore more especial relation to the 
owner. Therefore Maui's "magic hook," with which 
he fished up islands, was made from the jawbone of 
his ancestress Mahuika. It is also said that in order 
to have powerful hooks for every-day fishing he killed 
two of his children. Their right eyes he threw up 
into the sky to become stars. One became the morn- 
ing and the other the evening star. 

The idea that the death of any members of 
the family must not stand in the way of obtaining 
magical power, has prevailed throughout Polynesia. 


From this angle in the jawbone Maui must have 
conceived the idea of making a hook with a piece of 
bone or shell which should be fastened to the large 
bone at a very sharp angle, thus making a kind of 
barb. Hooks like this have been made for ages among 
the Polynesians. 

Maui and his brothers went fishing for eels with 
bait strung on the flexible rib of a cocoanut leaf. The 
stupid brothers did not fasten the ends of the string. 
Therefore the eels easily slipped the bait off and es- 
caped. But Maui made the ends of his string fast, 
and captured many eels. 

The little things which others did not think about 
were the foundation of Maui's fame. Upon these little 
things he built his courage to snare the sun and seek 
fire for mankind. 

In a New Zealand legend, quoted by Edward Tre- 
gear, Maui is called Maui-mata-waru, or "Maui with 
eyes eight." This eight-eyed Maui would be allied to 
the Hindoo deities who with their eight eyes face the 
four quarters of the world thus possessing both in- 
sight into the affairs of men and foresight into the 

Fornander, the Hawaiian ethnologist, says: "In 
Hawaiian mythology, Kamapuaa, the demi-god oppo- 
nent of the goddess Pele, is described as having eight 
eyes and eight feet; and in the legends Maka-walu, 


'eight-eyed,' is a frequent epithet of gods and chiefs." 
He notes this coincidence with the appearance of some 
of the principal Hindoo deities as having some bearing 
upon the origin of the Polynesians. It may be that a 
comparative study of the legends of other islands of 
the Pacific by some student will open up other new 
and important facts. 

In Tahiti, on the island Raiatea, a high priest or 
prophet lived in the long, long ago. He was known 
as Maui the prophet of Tahiti. He was probably not 
Maui the demi-god. Nevertheless he was represented 
as possessing very strange prophetical powers. 

According to the historian Ellis, who previous to 
1830 spent eight years in the Society and Hawaiian 
Islands, this prophet Maui clearly prophesied the 
coming of an outriggerless canoe from some foreign 
land. An outrigger is a log which so balances a 
canoe that it can ride safely through the treacherous 

The chiefs and prophets charged him with stating 
the impossible. 

He took his wooden calabash and placed it in a pool 
of water as an illustration of the way such a boat 
should float. 

Then with the floating bowl before him he uttered 
the second prophecy, that boats without line to tie the 
sails to the masts, or the masts to the ships, should 
also come to Tahiti. 

Hawaiian Bathing Pool. 


When English ships under Captain Wallis and Cap- 
tain Cook, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
visited these islands, the natives cried out, "0 the 
canoes of Maui the outriggerless canoes." 

Passenger steamships, and the men-of-war from the 
great nations, have taught the Tahitians that boats with- 
out sails and masts can cross the great ocean, and again 
they have recurred to the words of the prophet Maui, 
and have exclaimed, "0 the boats without sails and 
masts." This rather remarkable prophecy could easily 
have occurred to Maui as he saw a wooden calabash 
floating over rough waters. 

Maui's improvement upon nature's plan in regard 
to certain birds is also given in the legends as a proof 
of his supernatural powers. 

White relates the story as follows: "Maui re- 
quested some birds to go and fetch water for him. The 
first one would not obey, so he threw it into the water. 
He requested another bird to go and it refused, so 
he threw it into the fire, and its feathers were burnt. 
But the next bird obeyed, but could not carry the 
water, and he rewarded it by making the feathers of 
the fore part of its head white. Then he asked an- 
other bird to go, and it filled its ears with water and 
brought it to Maui, who drank, and then pulled the 
bird's legs and made them long in payment for its 
act of kindness." 

Diffenbach says: "Maui, the Adam of New Zealand, 


left the cat's cradle to the New Zealanders as an in 
heritance." The name "Whai" was given to the game. 
It exhibited the various steps of creation according 
to Maori mythology. Every change in the cradle shows 
some act in creation. Its various stages were called 
"houses." Diffenbach says again: "In this game of 
Maui they are great proficients. It is a game like that 
called cat's cradle in Europe. It is intimately con- 
nected with their ancient traditions and in the differ- 
ent figures which the cord is made to assume whilst 
held on both hands, the outline of their different varie- 
ties of houses, canoes or figures of men and women 
are imagined to be represented." One writer connects 
this game with witchcraft, and says it was brought 
from the under-world. Some parts of the puzzle show 
the adventures of Maui, especially his attempt to win 
immortality for men. 

In New Zealand it was said Maui found a large, fine- 
grained stone block, broke it in pieces, and from the 
fragments learned how to fashion stone implements. 

White also tells the New Zealand legend of Maui and 
the winds. 

"Maui caught and held all the winds save the west 
wind. He put each wind into a cave, so that it might 
not blow. He sought in vain for the west wind, but 
could not find from whence it came. If he had found 
the cave in which it stayed he would have closed the 
entrance to that cave with rocks. When the west 


wind blows lightly it is because Maui has got near to 
it, and has nearly caught it, and it has gone into its 
home, the cave, to escape him. When the winds of 
the south, east, and north blow furiously it is because 
the rocks have been removed by the stupid people 
who could not learn the lessons taught by Maui. At 
other times Maui allows these winds to blow in hur- 
ricanes to punish that people, and also that he may 
ride on these furious winds in search of the west 

In the Hawaiian legends Maui is represented as 
greatly interested in making and flying kites. His 
favorite place for the sport was by the boiling pools 
of the Wailuku river near Hilo. He had the winds 
under his control and would call for them to push his 
kites in the direction he wished. His incantation call- 
ing up the winds is given in this Maui proverb 

"Strong wind come, 
Soft wind come." 

White in his "Ancient History of the Maoris," re- 
lates some of Maui's experiences with the people whom 
he found on the islands brought up from the under- 
world. On one island he found a sand house with eight 
hundred gods living in it. Apparently Maui discovered 
islands with inhabitants, and was reported to have 
fished them up out of the depths of the ocean. Fishing 


was sailing over the ocean until distant lands were 
drawn near or "fished up." 

Maui walked over the islands and found men living 
on them and fires burning near their homes. He evi- 
dently did not know much about fire, for he took it in 
his hands. He was badly burned and rushed into the 
sea. Down he dived under the cooling waters and came 
up with one of the New Zealand islands on his shoul- 
ders. But his hands were still burning, so wherever he 
held the island it was set on fire. 

These fires are still burning in the secret recesses 
of the volcanoes, and sometimes burst out in flowing 
lava. Then Maui paid attention to the people whom 
he had fished up. He tried to teach them, but they 
did not learn as he thought they should. He quickly 
became angry and said, "It is a waste of light for the 
sun to shine on such stupid people." So he tried to 
hold his hands between them and the sun, but the rays 
of the sun were too many and too strong; therefore, 
he could not shut them out. Then he tried the moon 
and managed to make it dark a part of the time each 
month. In this way he made a little trouble for the 
stupid people. 

There are other hints in the legends concerning 
Maui's desire to be revenged upon any one who in- 
curred his displeasure. It was said that Maui for a 
time lived in the heavens above the earth. Here he 


had a foster brother Maru. The two were cultivating 
the fields. Maru sent a snowstorm over Maui's field. 
(It would seem as if this might be a Polynesian mem- 
ory of a cold land where their ancestors knew the 
cold winter, or a lesson learned from the snow-caps 
of high mountains.) At any rate, the snow blighted 
Maui's crops. Maui retaliated by praying for rain 
to destroy Maru's fields. But Maru managed to save 
a part of his crops. Other legends make Maui the 
aggressor. At the last, however, Maui became very 
angry. The foster parents tried to soothe the two men 
by saying, "Live in peace with each other and do not 
destroy each other's food." But Maui was implacable 
and lay in wait for his foster brother, who was in the 
habit of carrying fruit and grass as an offering to 
the gods of a temple situated on the summit of a hill. 
Here Maui killed Maru and then went away to the 

This legend is told by three or four different tribes 
of New Zealand and is very similar to the Hebrew 
story of Cain and Abel. At this late day it is difficult 
to say definitely whether or not it owes its origin to 
the early touch of Christianity upon New Zealand when 
white men first began to live with the natives. It is 
somewhat similar to stories found in the Tonga Islands 
and also in the Hawaiian group, where a son of the 
first gods, or rather of the first men, kills a brother. 
In each case there is the shadow of the Biblical idea. It 


seems safe to infer that such legends are not entirely 
drawn from contact with Christian civilization. The 
natives claim that these stories are very ancient, and 
that their fathers knew them before the white men 
sailed on the Pacific. 


WHEN Maui returned from the voyages in which 
he discovered or "fished up" from the ocean 
depths new islands, he gave deep thought to 
the things he had found. As the islands appeared to 
come out of the water he saw they were inhabited. 
There were houses and stages for drying and preserv- 
ing food. He was greeted by barking dogs. Fires 
were burning, food cooking and people working. He 
evidently had gone so far away from home that a 
strange people was found. The legend which speaks 
of the death of his brothers, "eaten" by the great 
fish drawn up from the floor of the sea, may very 
easily mean that the new people killed and ate the 

Maui apparently learned some new lessons, for on 
his return he quickly established a home of his own, 
and determined to live after the fashion of the families 
in the new islands. 

Maui sought Hina-a-te-lepo, ''daughter of the 


swamp," and secured her as his wife. The New Zea- 
land tribes tell legends which vary in different locali- 
ties about this woman Hina. She sometimes bore the 
name Rau-kura "The red plume." 

She cared for his thatched house as any other Poly- 
nesian woman was in the habit of doing. She at- 
tempted the hurried task of cooking his food before 
he snared the sun and gave her sufficient daylight for 
her labors. 

They lived near the bank of a river from which Hina 
was in the habit of bringing water for the household 

One day she went down to the stream with her cala- 
bash. She was entwined with wreaths of leaves and 
flowers, as was the custom among Polynesian women. 
While she was standing on the bank, Tuna-roa, "the 
long eel," saw her. He swam up to the bank and 
suddenly struck her and knocked her into the water 
and covered her with slime from the blow given by 
his tail. 

Hina escaped and returned to her home, saying 
nothing to Maui about the trouble. But the next day, 
while getting water, she was again overthrown and 
befouled by the slime of Tuna-roa. 

Then Hina became angry and reported the trouble 
to Maui. 

Maui decided to punish the long eel and started out 
to find his hiding place. Some of the New Zealand 


legends as collected by White, state that Tuna-roa was 
a very smooth-skinned chief, who lived on the opposite 
bank of the stream, and, seeing Hina, had insulted 

When Mam saw this chief, he caught two pieces of 
wood over which he was accustomed to slide his canoe 
into the sea. These he carried to the stream and laid 
them from bank to bank as a bridge over which he might 
entice Tuna-roa to cross. 

Maui took his stone axe, Ma-Tori-Tori, "the 
severer," and concealed himself near the bank of the 

When "the long eel" had crossed the stream, Maui 
rushed out and killed him with a mighty blow of the 
stone axe, cutting the head from the body. 

Other legends say that Maui found Tuna-roa living 
as an eel in a deep water hole, in a swamp on the sea- 
coast of Tata-a, part of the island Ao-tea-roa. Other 
stories located Tuna-roa in the river near Maui's 

Maui saw that he could not get at his enemy with- 
out letting off the water which protected him. 

Therefore into the forest went Maui, and with sa- 
cred ceremonies, selected trees from the wood of which 
he prepared tools and weapons. 

Meanwhile, in addition to the insult given to Hina, 
Tuna-roa had caught and devoured two of Maui's 


children, which made Maui more determined to kill 

Maui made the narrow spade (named by the Maoris 
of New Zealand the "ko," and by the Hawaiians 
"o-o") and the sharp spears, with which to pierce 
either the earth or his enemy. These spears and 
spades were consecrated to the work of preparing a 
ditch by which to draw off the water protecting "the 
long eel." 

The work of trench-making was accomplished with 
many incantations and prayers. The ditch was named 
"The sacred digging," and was tabooed to all other 
purposes except that of catching Tuna-roa. 

Across this ditch Maui stretched a strong net, and 
then began a new series of chants and ceremonies to 
bring down an abundance of rain. Soon the flood 
came and the overflowing waters rushed down the sa- 
cred ditch. The walls of the deep pool gave way and 
"the long eel" was carried down the trench into the 
waiting net. Then there was commotion. Tuna-roa 
was struggling for freedom. 

Maui saw him and hastened to grasp his stone axe, 
"the severer." Hurrying to the net, he struck Tuna- 
roa a terrible blow, and cut off the head. With a few 
more blows, he cut the body in pieces. The head and 
tail were carried out into the sea. The head became 
fish and the tail became the great conger-eel. Other 
parts of the body became sea monsters. But some parts 


which fell in fresh water became the common eels. From 
the hairs of the head came certain vines and creepers 
among the plants. 

After the death of Tuna-roa the offspring of Maui 
were in no danger of being killed and soon multiplied 
into a large family. 

Another New Zealand legend related by White says 
that Maui built a sliding place of logs, over which 
Tuna-roa must pass when coming from the river. 

Maui also made a screen behind which he could se- 
crete himself while watching for Tuna-roa. 

He commanded Hina to come down to the river and 
wait on the bank to attract Tuna-roa. Soon the long 
eel was seen in the water swimming near to Hina. 
Hina went to a place back of the logs which Maui had 
laid down. 

Tuna-roa came towards her, and began to slide down 
the skids. 

Maui sprang out from his hiding place and killed 
Tuna-roa with his axe, and cut him in pieces. 

The tail became the conger-eel. Parts of his body 
became fresh-water eels. Some of the blood fell upon 
birds and always after marked them with red spots. 
Some of the blood was thrown into certain trees, mak- 
ing this wood always red. The muscles became vines 
and creepers. 

From this time the children of Maui caught and ate 
the eels of both salt and fresh water. Eel traps were 


made, and Maui taught the people the proper chants 
or incantations to use when catching eels. 

This legend of Maui and the long eel was found by 
White in a number of forms among the different tribes 
of New Zealand, but does not seem to have had cur- 
rency in many other island groups. 

In Turner's "Samoa" a legend is related which was 
probably derived from the Maui stories and yet differs 
in its romantic results. The Samoans say that among 
their ancient ones dwelt a woman named Sina. Sina 
among the Polynesians is the same as Hina the "h" 
is softened into "s". She captured a small eel and 
kept it as a pet. It grew large and strong and finally 
attacked and bit her. She fled, but the eel followed her 
everywhere. Her father came to her assistance and 
raised high mountains between the eel and herself. 
But the eel passed over the barrier and pursued her. 
Her mother raised a new series of mountains. But 
again the eel surmounted the difficulties and attempt- 
ed to seize Sina. She broke away from him and ran 
on and on. Finally she wearily passed through a vil- 
lage. The people asked her to stay and eat with them, 
but she said they could only help her by delivering 
her from the pursuing eel. The inhabitants of that 
village were afraid of the eel and refused to fight for 
her. So she ran on to another place. Here the chief 
offered her a drink of water and promised to kill the 
eel for her. He prepared awa, a stupefying drink, and 

A Coconut Grove in Kona. 


put poison in it. When the eel came along the chief 
asked him to drink. He took the awa and prepared 
to follow Sina. When he came to the place where she 
was the pains of death had already seized him. While 
dying he begged her to bury his head by her home. 
This she did, and in time a plant new to the islands 
sprang up. It became a tree, and finally produced a 
cocoanut, whose two eyes could continually look into 
the face of Sina. 

Tuna, in the legends of Fiji, was a demon of the 
sea. He lived in a deep sea cave, into which he some- 
times shut himself behind closed doors of coral. When 
he was hungry, he swam through the ocean shadows, 
always watching the restless surface. When a canoe 
passed above him, he would throw himself swiftly 
through the waters, upset the canoe, and seize some 
of the boatmen and devour them. He was greatly 
feared by all the fishermen of the Fijian coasts. 

Roko a mo-o or dragon god in his journey among 
the islands, stopped at a village by the sea and asked 
for a canoe and boatmen. The people said: "We 
have nothing but a very old canoe out there by the 
water." He went to it and found it in a very bad con- 
dition. He put it in the water, and decided that he 
could use it. Then he asked two men to go with him 
and paddle, but they refused because of fear, and ex- 
plained this fear by telling the story of the water 
demon, who continually sought the destruction of this 


canoe, and also their own death. Roko encouraged 
them to take him to wage battle with Tuna, telling 
them he would destroy the monster. They paddled 
until they were directly over Tuna's cave. Roko told 
them to go off to one side and wait and watch, saying: 
"I am going down to see this Tuna. If you see red 
blood boil up through the water, you may be sure that 
Tuna has been killed. If the blood is black, then you 
will know that he has the victory and I am dead." 

Roko leaped into the water and went down down 
to the door of the cave. The coral doors were closed. 
He grasped them in his strong hands and tore them 
open, breaking them in pieces. Inside he found cave 
after cave of coral, and broke his way through until 
at last he awoke Tuna. The angry demon cried: "Who 
is that?" Roko answered: "It is I, Roko, alone. "Who 
are you?" 

Tuna aroused himself and demanded Roko's busi- 
ness and who guided him to that place. Roko replied: 
"No one has guided me. I go from place to place, 
thinking that there is no one else in the world." 

Tuna shook himself angrily. "Do you think I am 
nothing? This day is your last." 

Roko replied: "Perhaps so. If the sky falls, I shall 

Tuna leaped upon Roko and bit him. Then came 
the mighty battle of the coral caves. Roko broke 
Tuna into several pieces and the red blood poured 


in boiling bubbles upward through the clear ocean 
waters, and the boatmen cried: "The blood is red 
the blood is red Tuna is dead by the hand of Roko." 
Roko lived for a time in Fiji, where his descendants 
still find their home. The people use this chant to aid 
them in difficulties: 

"My load is a red one. 

It points in front to Kawa (Roko's home). 
Behind, it points to Dolomo (a village on another island)." 

In the Hawaiian legends, Hina was Maui's mother 
rather than his wife, and Kuna (Tuna) was a mo-o, a 
dragon or gigantic lizard possessing miraculous 

Hina's home was in the large cave under the beau- 
tiful Rainbow Falls near the city of Hilo. Above the 
falls the bed of the river is along the channel of an 
ancient lava flow. Sometimes the water pours in a 
torrent over the rugged lava, sometimes it passes 
through underground passages as well as along the 
black river bed, and sometimes it thrusts itself into 
boiling pools. 

Maui lived on the northern side of the river, but a 
chief named Kuna-moo a dragon lived in the boil- 
ing pools. He attacked Hina and threw a dam across 
the river below Rainbow Falls, intending to drown 
Hina in her cave. The great ledge of rock filled the 
river bed high up the bank on the Hilo side of the 


river. Hina called on Maui for aid. Maui came 
quickly and with mighty blows cut out a new channel 
for the river the path it follows to this day. The 
waters sank and Hina remained unharmed in her 

The place where Kuna dwelt was called Wai-kuna 
the Kuna water. The river in which Hina and 
Kuna dwelt bears the name Wailuku "the destruc- 
tive water." Maui went above Kuna's home and 
poured hot water into the river. This part of the 
myth could e.asily have arisen from a lava outburst on 
the side of the volcano above the river. The hot water 
swept in a flood over Kuna's home. Kuna jumped 
from the boiling pools over a series of small falls near 
his home into the river below. Here the hot water 
again scalded him and in pain he leaped from the 
river to the bank, where Maui killed him by beating 
him with a club. His body was washed down the 
river over the falls under which Hina dwelt, into the 

The story of Kuna or Tuna is a legend with a founda- 
tion in the enmity between two chiefs of the long ago, 
and also in a desire to explain the origin of the family 
of eels and the invention of nets and traps. 

Wailuku River -the Boiling Pots. 


"Stories of Main's Brother-in-Law, " and of 
"Maui seeking Immortality," are not found in 
Hawaiian mythology. We depend upon Sir 
George Grey and John White for the New Zealand 
myths in which both of these legends occur. 

Maui's sister Hina-uri married Ira-waru, who was 
willing to work with his skilful brother-in-law. They 
hunted in the forests and speared birds. They fished 
and farmed together. They passed through many ex- 
periences similar to those Maui's own brothers had 
suffered before the brother-in-law took their place as 
Maui's companion. They made spears together but 
Maui made notched barbs for his spear ends and 
slipped them off when Ira-waru came near. So for a 
long time the proceeds of bird hunting fell to Maui. 
But after a time the brother-in-law learned the secret 
as the brothers had before, and Maui was looked up to 
by his fellow hunter as the skilful one. Sometimes 


Ira-waru was able to see at once Haul's plan and adopt 
it. He discovered Maui's method of making the punga 
or eel baskets for catching eels. 

The two hunters went to the forest to find a cer- 
tain creeping vine with which to weave their eel 
snares. Ira-waru made a basket with a hole, by which 
the eels could enter, but they could turn around and 
go out the same way. So he very seldom caught an 
eel. But Maui made his basket with a long funnel- 
shaped door, by which the eels could easily slide into 
the snare but could scarcely escape. He made a door 
in the side which he fastened tight until he wished to 
pour the eels out. 

Ira-waru immediately made a basket like Maui. 
Then Maui became angry and uttered incantations 
over Ira-waru. The man dropped on the ground and 
became a dog. Maui returned home and met his 
sister, who charged him with sorcery concerning her 

Maui did not deny the exercise of his power, but 
taught his sister a chant and sent her out to the level 
country. There she uttered her chant and a strange 
dog with long hair came to her, barking and leaping 
around her. Then she knew what Maui had done. 
"Thus Ira-waru became the first of the long-haired 
dogs whose flesh has been tabooed to women." 

The Tahu and Hau tribes of New Zealand tell a 
different story. They say that Maui went to visit 


Ira-waru. Together they set out on a journey. After 
a time they rested by the wayside and became sleepy. 
Maui asked Ira-waru to cleanse his head. This gave 
him the restful, soothing touch which aided sleep. 
Then Maui proposed that Ira-waru sleep. Taking the 
head in his hands, Maui put his brother-in-law to 
sleep. Then by incantations he made the sleep very 
deep and prolonged. Meanwhile he pulled the ears 
and arms and limbs until they were properly length- 
ened. He drew out the under jaw until it had the 
form of a dog's mouth. He stretched the end of the 
backbone into a tail, and then wakened Ira-waru and 
drove him back when he tried to follow the path to 
the settlement. 

Hina-uri went out and called her husband. He 
came to her, leaping and barking. She decided that 
this was her husband, and in her agony reproached Maui 
and wandered away. 

The Rua-nui story-tellers of New Zealand say that 
Maui's anger was aroused against Ira-waru because 
he ate all the bait when they went fishing, and they 
could catch no fish after paddling out to the fishing 
grounds. When they came to land, Maui told Ira-waru 
to lie down in the sand as a roller over which to 
drag the canoe up the beach. When he was lying 
helpless under the canoe, Maui changed him into a 


The Arawa legends make the cause of Maui's anger 


the success of Ira-waru while fishing. Ira-waru had 
many fish while Maui had captured but few. The 
story is told thus: "Ira-waru hooked a fish and in 
pulling it in his line became entangled with that of 
Maui. Maui felt the jerking and began to pull in his 
line. Soon they pulled their lines close up to the 
canoe, one to the bow, the other to the stern, where 
each was sitting. Maui said: 'Let me pull the lines 
to me, as the fish is on my hook.' His brother-in-law 
said: 'Not so; the fish is on mine.' But Maui said: 
'Let me pull my line in.' Ira-waru did so and saw 
that the fish was on his hook. Then he said: 'Untwist 
your lines and let mine go, that I may pull the fish in.' 
Maui said: 'I will do so, but let me have time.' He 
took the fish off Ira-waru's hook and saw that there 
was a barb on the hook. He said to Ira-waru: 'Per- 
haps we ought to return to land.' When they were 
dragging the canoe on shore, Maui said to Ira-waru: 
'Get between the canoe and outrigger and drag.' Ira- 
waru did so and Maui leaped on the outrigger and 
weighed it heavily down and crushed Ira-waru pros- 
trate on the beach. Maui trod on him and pulled his 
backbone long like a tail and changed him into a dog." 
Maui is said to have tattooed the muzzle of the dog 
with a beautiful pattern which the birds (kahui-tara, 
a flock of tern) used in marking the sky. From this 
also came the red glow which sometimes flushes the 
face of man. 


Another Arawa version of the legend was that Maui 
and Ira- warn were journeying together. Ira-waru was 
gluttonous and ate the best food. At last Maui deter- 
mined to punish his companion. By incantation he 
lengthened the way until Ira-waru became faint and 
weary. Maui had provided himself with a little food 
and therefore was enabled to endure the long way. 
While Ira-waru slept Maui trod on his backbone and 
lengthened it and changed the arms and limbs into 
the legs of a dog. When Hina-uri saw the state of her 
husband she went into the thatched house by which 
Ira-waru had so often stood watching the hollow log 
in which she dried the fish and preserved the birds 
speared in the mountains. She bound her girdle and 
kiekie-leaf apron around her and went down to the sea 
to drown herself, that her body might be eaten by the 
monsters of the sea. When she came to the shell- 
covered beach, she sat down and sang her death song 

"I weep, I call to the steep billows of the sea 
And to him, the great, the ocean god; 
To monsters, all now hidden, 
To come and bury me, 
Who now am wrapped in mourning. 
Let the waves wear their mourning, too, 
And sleep as sleeps the dead. ' ' 

Ancient Maui Chant of New Zealand. 

Then Hina-uri threw herself into the sea and was 
borne on the waves many moons, at last drifting to 


shore, to be found by two fishermen. They carried 
the body off to the fire and warmed it back to life. 
They brushed off the sea moss and sea weeds and 
rubbed her until she awoke. 

Soon they told their chief, Tini-rau, what a beautiful 
woman they had found in the sea. He came and took 
her away to make her one of his wives. But the other 
wives were jealous and drove Hina-uri away from the 
chief's houses. 

Another New Zealand legend says that Hina came 
to the sea and called for a little fish to aid her in 
going away from the island. It tried to carry her, but 
was too weak. Hina struck it with her open hand. 
It had striped sides forever after. She tried a larger 
fish, but fell off before they had gone far from shore. 
Her blow gave this fish its beautiful blue spots. Another 
received black spots. Another she stamped her foot 
upon, making it flat. At last a shark carried her far 
away. She was very thirsty, and broke a cocoanut 
on the shark's head, making a bump, which has been 
handed down for generations. The shark carried her 
to the home of the two who rescued her and gave her 
new strength. 

Meanwhile Rupe or Maui-mua, a brother of Hina- 
uri and Maui, grieved for his sister. He sought for 
her throughout the land and then launched his canoe 
upon the blue waters surrounding Ao-tea-roa (The 
Great White Cloud; the ancient native New Zealand) 

Outside were other Worlds." 


and searched the coasts. He only learned that his 
sister had, as the natives said, "leaped into the waters 
and been carried away into the heavens." 

Rupe's heart filled with the desire to find and pro- 
tect the frenzied sister who had probably taken a canoe 
and floated away, out of the horizon, seen from New 
Zealand coasts, into new horizons. During the Viking 
age of the Pacific, when many chiefs sailed long dis- 
tances, visiting the most remote islands of Polynesia, 
they frequently spoke of breaking through from the 
home land into new heavens or of climbing up the 
path of the sun on the waters into a new heaven. This 
was their poetical way of passing from horizon to hori- 
zon. The horizon around their particular island sur- 
rounded their complete world. Outside, somewhere, 
were other worlds and other heavens. Rupe's voyage 
was an idyll of the Pacific. It was one more story to be 
added to the prose poems of consecrated travel. It 
was a brother feeling through the mysteries of unknown 
lands for a sister, as dear to him as an Evangeline has 
been to other men. 

From the mist-land of the Polynesian race comes 
this story of the trickery of Maui the learned, and the 
faithfulness of his older brother Maui-mua or Rupe 
one of the "five forgetful Mauis." Rupe hoisted mat- 
sails over his canoe and thus made the winds serve 
him. He paddled the canoe onward through the hours 
when calms rested on glassy waves. 


Thus he passed out of sight of Ao-tea-roa, away 
from his brothers, and out of the reach of all tricks 
and incantations of Maui, the mischievous. He sailed 
until a new island rose out of the sea to greet him. 
Here in a "new heaven" he found friends to care for 
him and prepare him for his longer journey. His 
restless anxiety for his sister urged him onward until 
days lengthened into months and months into years. 
He passed from the horizons of newly-discovered 
islands, into the horizons of circling skies around 
islands of which he had never heard before. Some- 
times he found relatives, but more frequently his wel- 
come came from those who could trace no historical 
touch in their genealogies. 

Here and there, apparently, he found traces of a 
woman whose description answered that of his sister 
Hina-uri. At last he looked through the heavens upon 
a new world, and saw his sister in great trouble. 

According to some legends the jealous wives of the 
great chief, Tini-rau, attack Hina, who was known 
among them as Hina-te-ngaru-moana, "Hina, the 
daughter of the ocean." Tini-rau and Hina lived 
away from the village of the chief until their little boy 
was born. "When they needed food, the chief said, 
"Let us go to my settlement and we shall have food 
provided. ' ' 

But Hina chanted: 


"Let it down, let it down, 
Descend, oh! descend " 

and sufficient food fell before them. After a time their 
frail clothing wore out, and the cold chilled them, then 
Hina again uttered the incantation and clothing was 
provided for their need. 

But the jealous wives, two in number, finally heard 
where Hina and the chief were living, and started to 
see them. 

Tini-rau said to Hina, "Here come my other wives 
be careful how you act before them." 

She replied, "If they come in anger it will be evil." 

She armed herself with an obsidian or volcanic-glass 
knife, and waited their coming. 

They tried to throw enchantments around her to 
kill her. Then one of them made a blow at her with 
a weapon, but she turned it aside and killed her enemy 
with the obsidian knife. 

Then the other wife made an attack, and again the 
obsidian knife brought death. She ripped open the 
stomachs of the jealous ones and showed the chief fish 
lines and sinkers and other property which they had 
eaten in the past and which Tini-rau had never been 
able to trace. 

Another legend says that the two women came to 
kill Hina when they heard of the birth of her boy. 
For a time she was greatly terrified. Then she saw 


that they were coming from different directions. She 
attacked the nearest one with a stone and killed her. 
The body burst open, and was seen to be full of green 
stone. Then she killed the second wife in the same 
way, and found more green stones. "Thus, according 
to the legends, originated the greenstone" from which 
the choicest and most valuable stone tools have since 
been made. For a time the chief and Hina lived hap- 
pily together. Then he began to neglect her and abuse 
her, until she cried aloud for her brother 

"O Kupe! come down. 
Take me and my child. ' ' 

Eupe assumed the form of a bird and flew down to 
this world in which he had found his sister. He 
chanted as he came down 

"It is Eupe, yes Eupe, 
The elder brother; 
And I am here." 

He folded the mother and her boy under his wings 
and flew away with them. Sir George Grey relates 
a legend in which Maui-mua or Eupe is recorded as 
having carried his sister and her child to one of the 
new lands, found in his long voyage, where dwelt an 
aged relative, of chief rank, with his retairers. 

Some legends say that Tini-rau tried to catch Eupe, 


who was compelled to drop the child in order to es- 
cape with the mother. Tini-rau caught the child and 
carefully cared for him until he grew to be a strong 
young lad. 

Then he wanted to find his mother and bring her 
back to his father. How this was done, how Rupe 
took his sister back to the old chief, and how civil 
wars arose are not all these told in the legends of the 
Maoris. Thus the tricks of Maui the mischievous 
brought trouble for a time, but were finally over- 
shadowed by happy homes in neighboring lands for 
his suffering sister and her descendants. 


Climb up, climb up, 

To the highest surface of heaven, 

To all the sides of heaven. 

Climb then to thy ancestor, 
The sacred bird in the sky, 
To thy ancestor Eehua 
In the heavens. 

New Zealand kite incantation. 

MAUI the demi-god was sometimes the Hercules 
of Polynesia. His exploits were fully as mar- 
velous as those of the hero of classic mythology. 
He snared the sun. He pulled up islands from the 
ocean depths. He lifted the sky into its present position 
and smoothed its arched surface with his stone adze. 
These stories belong to all Polynesia. 

There are numerous less important local myths, some 
of them peculiar to New Zealand, some to the Society 
Islands and some to the Hawaiian group. 

One of the old native Hawaiians says that in the 
long, long ago the birds were flying around the homes 
of the ancient people. The flutter of their wings could 
be heard and the leaves and branches moved when the 
motion of the wings ceased and the wanderers through 
the air found resting places. Then came sweet music 
from the trees and the people marvelled. Only one 
of all mankind could see the winged warblers. Maui, 


the demi-god, had clear vision. The swift-flying wings 
covered with red or gold he saw. The throats tinted 
many colors and reflecting the sunlight with diamond 
sparks of varied hues he watched while they trembled 
with the melody of sweet bird songs. All others heard 
but did not see. They were blind and yet had open 

Sometimes the iiwi (a small red bird) fluttered in 
the air and uttered its shrill, happy song, and Maui 
saw and heard. But the bird at that time was without 
color in the eyes of the ancient people and only the 
clear voice was heard, while no speck of bird life flecked 
the clear sky overhead. 

At one time a god from one of the other islands came 
to visit Maui. Each boasted of and described the 
beauties and merits of his island. While they were 
conversing, Maui called for his friends the birds. They 
gathered around the house and fluttered among the 
leaves of the surrounding trees. Soon their sweet voices 
filled the air on all sides. All the people wondered 
and worshiped, thinking they heard the fairy or mene- 
hune people. It was said that Maui had painted the 
bodies of his invisible songsters and for a long time 
had kept the delight of their flashing colors to himself. 
But when the visitor had rejoiced in the mysterious 
harmonies, Maui decided to take away whatever veil 
shut out the sight of these things beautiful, that his 
bird friends might be known and honoured ever after. 


So he made the birds reveal themselves perched in the 
trees or flying in the air. The clear eyes of the god 
first recognized the new revelation, then all the people 
became dumb before the sweet singers adorned in all 
their brilliant tropical plumage. 

The beautiful red birds, iiwi and akakani, and the 
birds of glorious yellow feathers, the oo and the mamo, 
were a joy to both eye and ear and found high places 
in Hawaiian legend and story, and all gave their most 
beautiful feathers for the cloaks and helmets of the 

The Maoris of New Zealand say that Maui could at 
will change himself into a bird and with his feathered 
friends find a home in leafy shelters. In bird form he 
visited the gods of the under-world. His capricious 
soul was sensitive to the touch of all that mysterious 
life of nature. 

With the birds as companions and the winds as his 
servants Maui must soon have turned his inventive 
mind to kite making. 

The Hawaiian myths are perhaps the only ones of 
the Pacific Ocean which give to any of the gods the 
pleasure and excitement of kite flying. Maui, after 
repeated experiments, made a large kite for himself. 
It was much larger than any house of his time or 
generation. He twisted a long line from the strong 
fibers of the native plant known as the olona. He 
endowed both kite and string with marvelous powers 

The Home of the Winds, Hilo Coast. 


and launched the kite up toward the clouds. It rose 
very slowly. The winds were not lifting it into the 

Maui remembered that an old priest lived in Waipio 
valley, the largest and finest valley of the large island, 
Hawaii, on which he made his home. 

This priest had a covered calabash in which he com- 
pelled the winds to hide when he did not wish them 
to play on land and sea. The priest's name was Ka- 
leiioku, and his calabash was known as ipu-makani- 
a ka maumau, "the calabash of the perpetual winds." 
Maui called for the priest who had charge of the winds 
to open his calabash and let them come up to Hilo and 
blow along the Wailuku river. The natives say that 
the place where Maui stood was marked by the pressure 
of his feet in the lava rocks of the river bank as he 
braced himself to hold the kite against the increasing 
force of the winds which pushed it towards the sky. 
Then the enthusiasm of kite flying filled his youthful 
soul and he cried aloud, screaming his challenge along 
the coast of the sea toward Waipio 

"O winds, winds of Waipio, 
In the calabash of Kaleiioku. 
Come from the ipu-makani, 
O wind, the wind of Hilo, 
Come quickly, come with power." 


Then the priest lifted the cover of the calabash of 
the winds and let the strong winds of Hilo escape. 
Along the sea coast they rushed until as they entered 
Hilo Bay they heard the voice of Maui calling 

"O winds, winds of Hilo, 
Hasten and come to me." 

With a tumultuous rush the strong winds turned 
toward the mountains. They forced their way along 
the gorges and palisades of the Wailuku river. They 
leaped into the heavens, making a fierce attack upon 
the monster which Maui had sent into the sky. The 
kite struggled as it was pushed upward by the hands 
of the fierce winds, but Maui rejoiced. His heart was 
uplifted by the joy of the conflict in which his strength 
to hold was pitted against the power of the winds to 
tear away. And again he shouted toward the sea 

"O winds, the winds of Hilo, 
Come to the mountains, come." 

The winds which had been stirring up storms on 
the face of the waters came inland. They dashed 
against Maui. They climbed the heights of the skies 
until they fell with full violence against their mighty 
foe hanging in the heavens. 

The kite had been made of the strongest kapa (paper 
cloth) which Maui's mother could prepare. It was 


not torn, although it was bent backward to its utmost 
limit. Then the strain came on the strong cord of 
olona fibre. The line was stretched and strained as 
the kite was pushed back. Then Maui called again and 
again for stronger winds to come. The cord was drawn 
out until the kite was far above the mountains. At 
last it broke and the kite was tossed over the craters of 
the volcanoes to the land of the district of Ka-u on the 
other side of the island. 

Then Maui was angry and hastily leaped over the 
mountains, which are nearly fourteen thousand feet 
in altitude. In a half dozen strides he had crossed the 
fifty or sixty miles from his home to the place where 
the kite lay. He could pass over many miles with a 
single step. His name was Maui-Mama, "Maui the 
Swift." When Maui returned with his kite he was 
more careful in calling the winds to aid him in his 

The people watched their wise neighbor and soon 
learned that the kite would be a great blessing to them. 
When it was soaring in the sky there was always dry 
and pleasant weather. It was a day for great rejoic- 
ing. They could spread out their kapa cloth to dry as 
long as the kite was in the sky. They could carry 
out their necessary work without fear of the rain. 
Therefore when any one saw the kite beginning to 
float along the mountain side he would call out joy- 
fully, "E ! Maui's kite is in the heavens." Maui would 


send his kite into the blue sky and then tie the line 
to the great black stones in the bed of the Wailuku 

Maui soon learned the power of his kite when blown 
upon by a fierce wind. With his accustomed skill he 
planned to make use of his strong servant, and there- 
fore took the kite with him on his journeys to the 
other islands, using it to aid in making swift voyages. 
With the wind in the right direction, the kite could 
pull his double canoe very easily and quickly to its 

Time passed, and even the demi-god died. The fish 
hook with which he drew the Hawaiian Islands up 
from the depths of the sea was allowed to lie on the 
lava by the Wailuku river until it became a part of 
the stone. The double canoe was carried far inland 
and then permitted to petrify by the river side. The 
two stones which represent the double canoe now bear 
the name " Waa-Kauhi, ' ' and the kite has fallen from 
the sky far up on the mountain side, where it still rests, 
a flat plot of rich land between Mauna Kea and Mauna 



SEVERAL Maui legends have been located on the 
island of Oahu. They were given by Mr. Kaaia 
to Mr. T. G. Thrum, the publisher of what is well 
known in the Hawaiian Islands as "Thrum's Annual." 
He has kindly furnished them for added interest to the 
present volume. The legends have a distinctly local 
flavor confined entirely to Oahu. It has seemed best 
to reserve them for a chapter by themselves although 
they are chiefly variations of stories already told. 


This history of Maui and his grandmother Hina be- 
gins with their arrival from foreign lands. They dwelt 
in Kane-ana (Kane's cave), Waianae, Oahu. This is an 
"ana," or cave, at Puu-o-hulu. Hina had wonderful 
skill in making all kinds of tapa according to the custom 
of the women of ancient Hawaii. 

Maui went to the Koolau side and rested at Kaha-luu, 


a diving place in Koolaupoko. In that place there is a 
noted hill called Ma-eli-eli. This is the story of that 
hill. Maui threw up a pile of dirt and concealed rub- 
bish under it. The two gods, Kane and Kanaloa, came 
along and asked Maui what he was doing. He said, 
' ' What you see. You two dig on that side to the foot of 
the pali, (precipice) and I will go down at Kaha-luu. 
If you two dig through first, you may kill me. If I 
get through first I will kill you." They agreed, and 
began to dig and throw up the dirt. Then Maui dug 
three times and tossed up some of the hills of that place. 
Kane and Kanaloa saw that Maui was digging very 
fast, so they put forth very great strength and threw 
the dirt into a hill. Meanwhile Maui ran away to the 
other side of the island. Thus by the aid of the gods 
the hill Ma-eli-eli was thrown up and received its name 
"eli," meaning "dig." "Ma-eli-eli" meant "the place 
of digging." 


It was said that Maui and Hina had no fire. They 
were often cold and had no cooked food. Maui saw 
flames rising in a distant place and ran to see how 
they were made. When he came to that place the fire 
was out and some birds flew away. One of them was 
Ka-Alae-huapi, "the stingy Alae" a small duck, the 
Hawaiian mud hen. Maui watched again and saw fire. 

Bay, of Waipio Valley. 


When he went up the birds saw him coming and scat- 
tered the fire, carrying the ashes into the water; but 
he leaped and caught the little Alae. "Ah!" he said, 
"I will kill you, because you do not let me have fire." 
The bird replied, ' ' If you kill me you cannot find fire. ' ' 
Maui said, "Where is fire?" The Alae said, "Go up 
on the high land where beautiful plants with large 
leaves are standing; rub their branches." Maui set 
the bird free and went inland from Halawa and found 
dry land taro. He began to rub the stalks, but only 
juice came out like water. He had no red fire. He 
was very angry and said, "If that lying Alae is caught 
again by me I will be its death." 

After a while he saw the fire burning and ran swiftly. 
The birds saw him and cried, "The cooking is over. 
Here comes the swift grandchild of Hina." They 
scattered the fire; threw the ashes away and flew into 
the water. But again Maui caught the Alae and began 
to kill it, saying: "you gave me a plant full of water 
from which to get fire." The bird said, "If I die 
you can never find fire. I will give you the secret 
of fire. Take a branch of that dry tree and rub." 
Maui held the bird fast in one hand while he rubbed 
with the other until smoke and fire came out. Then 
he took the fire stick and rubbed the head of the bird, 
making a place where red and white feathers have 
grown ever since. 


He returned to Hina and taught her how to make 
fire, using the two fire sticks and how to twist coco- 
nut fibre to catch the fire when it had been kindled in 
wood. But the Alae was not forgotten. It was called 
huapi, "stingy," because it selfishly kept the know- 
ledge of fire making to itself. 


Maui watched Hina making tapa. The wet tapa 
was spread on a long tapa board, and Hina began at 
one end to pound it into shape; pounding from one 
end to another. He noticed that sunset came by the 
time she had pounded to the middle of the board. The 
sun hurried so fast that she could only begin her work 
before the day was past. 

He went to the hill Hele-a-ka-la, which means 
"journey of the sun." He thought he would catch the 
sun and make it move slowly. He went up the hill 
and waited. When the sun began to rise, Maui made 
himself long, stretching up toward the sky. Soon the 
shining legs of the sun came up the hillside. He saw 
Maui and began to run swiftly, but Maui reached out 
and caught one of the legs, saying: "0 sun, I will 
kill you. You are a mischief maker. You make 
trouble for Hina by going so fast." Then he broke 
the shining leg of the sun. The sufferer said, "I will 
change my way and go slowly six months slow and 


six months faster. ' ' Thus arose the saying, ' ' Long shall 
be the daily journey of the sun and he shall give light 
for all the people's toil." Hina learned that she could 
pound until she was tired while the farmers could 
plant and take care of their fields. Thus also this 
hill received its name Hele-a-ka-la. This is one of the 
hills of Waianae near the precipice of the hill Puu-o- 


Maui suggested to Hina that he had better try to 
draw the islands together, uniting them in one land. 
Hina told Maui to go and see Alae-nui-a-Hina, who 
would tell him what to do. The Alae told him they 
must go to Ponaha-ke-one (a fishing place outside of 
Pearl Harbor) and find Ka-uniho-kahi, "the one 
toothed," who held the land under the sea. 

Maui went back to Hina. She told him to ask his 
brothers to go fishing with him. They consented and 
pushed out into the sea. Soon Maui saw a bailing 
dish floating by the canoe and picked it up. It was 
named Hina-a-ke-ka, "Hina who fell off." They pad- 
dled to Ponaha-ke-one. When they stopped they saw 
a beautiful young woman in the boat. Then they 
anchored and again looked in the boat, but the young 
woman was gone. They saw the bailing dish and threw 
it into the sea. 


Maui-nma threw his hook and caught a large fish, 
which was seen to be a shark as they drew it to the 
surface. At once they cut the line. So also Maui- 
hope and Maui-waena. At last Maui threw his hook 
Manai-i-ka-lani into the sea. It went down, down into 
the depths. Maui cried, " Hina-a-ke-ka has my hook 
in her hand. By her it will be made fast." Hina 
went down with the hook until she met Ka-uniho-kahi. 
She asked him to open his mouth, then threw the hook 
far inside and made it fast. Then she pulled the line 
so that Maui should know that the fish was caught. 
Maui fastened the line to the outrigger of the canoe 
and asked his brothers to paddle with all diligence, 
and not look back. Long, long, they paddled and were 
very tired. Then Maui took a paddle and dipped 
deep into the sea. The boat moved more swiftly 
through the sea. The brothers looked back and cried, 
"There is plenty of land behind us." The charm 
was broken. The hook came out of "the one toothed," 
and the raised islands sank back into their place. The 
natives say, "The islands are now united to America. 
Perhaps Maui has been at work." 


Maui had been fishing and had caught a great fish 
upon which he was feasting. He looked inland and 
saw his wife, Kumu-lama, seized and carried away by 

fe 1 - , 

..: ' 

The le-ie Vine. 


Pea-pea-maka-walu, "Pea-pea the eight-eyed." This is 
a legend derived from the myths of many islands in 
which Lupe or Rupe (pigeon) changed himself into 
a bird and flew after his sister Hina who had been 
carried on the back of a shark to distant islands. Some- 
times as a man and sometimes as a bird he prosecuted 
his search until Hina was found. 

Maui pursued Pea-pea, but could not catch him. He 
carried Maui's wife over the sea to a far away island. 
Maui was greatly troubled but his grandmother sent 
him inland to find an old man who would tell him 
what to do. Maui went inland and looking down to- 
ward Waipahu saw this man Ku-olo-kele. He was 
hump-backed. Maui threw a large stone and hit the 
''hill on the back" knocked it off and made the back 
straight. The old man lifted up the stone and threw 
it to Waipahu, where it lies to this day. Then he and 
Maui talked together. He told Maui to go and catch 
birds and gather ti leaves and fibres of the ie-ie vine, 
and fill his house. These things Maui secured and 
brought to him. He told Maui to go home and return 
after three days. 

Ku-olo-kele took the ti leaves and the ie-ie threads 
and made the body of a great bird which he covered 
with bird feathers. He fastened all together with the 
ie-ie. This was done in the first day. The second day 
he placed food inside and tried his bird and it flew 


all right. "Thus," as the Hawaiians say, "the first 
flying ship was made in the time of Maui." This 
is a modern version of Rupe changing himself into a 

On the third day Maui came and saw the wonderful 
bird body thoroughly prepared for his journey. Maui 
went inside. Ku-olo-kele said, "When you reach that 
land, look for a village. If the people are not there 
look to the beach. If there are many people, your 
wife and Pea-pea the eight-eyed will be there. Do not 
go near, but fly out over the sea. The people will 
say, '0, the strange bird;' but Pea-pea will say, 
'This is my bird. It is tabu.' You can then come 
to the people." 

Maui pulled the ie-ie ropes fastened to the wings 
and made them move. Thus he flew away into the 
sky. Two days was his journey before he came to 
that strange island, Moana-liha-i-ka-wao-kele. It was 
a beautiful land. He flew inland to a village, but 
there were no people ; according to the ancient chant : 

"The houses of Lima-loa stand, 
But there are no people; 
They are at Mana. " 

The people were by the sea. Maui flew over them. 
He saw his wife, but he passed on flying out over the 
sea, skimming like a sea bird down to the water and 


rising gracefully up to the sky. Pea-pea called out, 
"This is my bird. It is tabu." Maui heard and came 
to the beach. He was caught and placed in a tabu 
box. The servants carried him up to the village and 
put him in the chief's sleeping house, when Pea-pea 
and his people returned to their homes. 

In the night Pea-pea and Maui's wife lay down to 
sleep. Maui watched Pea-pea, hoping that he would 
soon sleep. Then he would kill him. Maui waited. 
One eye was closed, seven eyes were opened. Then 
four eyes closed, leaving three. The night was almost 
past and dawn was near. Then Maui called to Hina 
with his spirit voice, "0 Hina, keep it dark." Hina 
made the gray dawn dark in the three eyes and two 
closed in sleep. The last eye was weary, and it also 
slept. Then Maui went out of the bird body and cut 
off the head of Pea-pea and put it inside the bird. He 
broke the roof of the house until a large opening was 
made. He took his wife, Kumu-lama, and flew away 
to the island of Oahu. The winds blew hard against 
the flying bird. Rain fell in torrents around it, but 
those inside had no trouble. 

"Thus Maui returned with his wife to his home in 
Oahu. The story is pau (finished)." 



"Where, where are now the houses 
Where all the twinkling stars were made? 
The houses called 'The Sparkling Flash of Night,' 
And 'The Sparkling Flash of Day'; 
The house of Rangi (heaven) from whence were brought 
The multitude of stars, now sparkling in the sky 
To give thee light, O man, upon thy voyage through life!" 
Ancient Maori lament for the dead. 

story of Maui seeking immortality for the 
human race is one of the finest myths in the 
world. For pure imagination and pathos it is 
difficult to find any tale from Grecian or Latin litera- 
ture to compare with it. In Greek and Roman fables 
gods suffered for other gods, and yet none were sur- 
rounded with such absolutely mythical experiences as 
those through which the demi-god Maui of the Pa- 
cific Ocean passed when he entered the gates of death 
with the hope of winning immortality for mankind. 
The really remarkable groups of legends which cluster 


around Maui is well concluded by the story of his 
unselfish and heroic battle with death. 

The different islands of the Pacific have their Hades, 
or abode of dead. It is, with very few exceptions, 
down in the interior of the earth. Sometimes the 
tunnels left by currents of melted lava are the pas- 
sages into the home of departed spirits. In Samoa 
there are two circular holes among the rocks at the 
west end of the island Savaii. These are the en- 
trances to the under-world for chiefs and people. The 
spirits of those who die on the other islands leap into 
the sea and swim around the land from island to 
island until they reach Savaii. Then they plunge 
down into their heaven or their hades. 

The Tongans had a spirit island for the home of 
the dead. They said that some natives once sailed far 
away in a canoe and found this island. It was cov- 
ered with all manner of beautiful fruits, among which 
rare birds sported. They landed, but the trees were 
shadows. They grasped but could not hold them. 
The fruits and the birds were shadows. The men ate, 
but swallowed nothing substantial. It was shadow- 
land. They walked through all the delights their 
eyes looked upon, but found no substance. They re- 
turned home, but ever seemed to listen to spirits 
calling them back to the island. In a short time all 
the voyagers were dead. 

There is no escape from death. The natives of New 


Zealand say: "Man may have descendants, but the 
daughter of the night strangles his offspring"; and 
again: "Men make heroes, but death carries them 
away. ' ' 

There are very few legends among the Polynesians 
concerning the death of Maui. And these are usually 
fragmentary, except among the Maoris of New Zea- 

The Hawaiian legend of the death of Maui is to 
the effect that he offended some of the greater gods 
living in Waipio valley on the Island of Hawaii. Ka- 
naloa, one of the four greatest gods of Hawaii, seized 
him and dashed him against the rocks. His blood 
burst from the body and colored the earth red in the 
upper part of the valley. The Hawaiians in another 
legend say that Maui was chasing a boy and girl in 
Honolii gulch, Hawaii. The girl climbed a bread- 
fruit tree. Maui changed himself into an eel and 
stretched himself along the side of the trunk of the 
tree. The tree stretched itself upward and Maui failed 
to reach the girl. A priest came along and struck the 
eel and killed it, and so Maui died. This is evidently 
a changed form of the legend of Maui and the long 
eel. Another Hawaiian fragment approaches very near 
to the beautiful New Zealand myth. The Hawaiians 
said that Maui attempted to tear a mountain apart. 
He wrenched a great hole in the side. Then the ele- 
paio bird sang and the charm was broken. The cleft 


in the mountain could not be enlarged. If the story 
could be completed it would not be strange if the 
death of Maui came with this failure to open the 
path through the mountain. 

The Hervey Islanders say that after Maui fished up 
the islands his hook was thrown into the heavens and 
became the curved tail of the constellation of stars 
which we know as "The Scorpion." Then the people 
became angry with Maui and threw him up into the 
sky and his body is still thought to be hanging among 
the stars of the scorpion. 

The Samoans, according to Turner, say that Maui 
went fishing and tried to catch the land under the 
seas and pull it to the surface. Finally an island ap- 
peared, but the people living on it were angry with 
Maui and drove him away into the heavens. 

As he leaped from the island it separated into two 
parts. Thus the Samoans account for the origin of 
two of their islands and also for the passing away of 
Maui from the earth. 

The natives of New Zealand have many myths 
concerning the death of Maui. Each tribe tells the 
story with such variations as would be expected when 
the fact is noted that these tribes have preserved their 
individuality through many generations. The sub- 
stance of the myth, however, is the same. 

In Maui's last days he longed for the victory over 
death. His innate love of life led him to face the 


possibility of escaping and overcoming the relentless 
enemy of mankind and thus bestow the boon of death- 
lessness upon his fellow-men. He had been success- 
ful over and over again in his contests with both gods 
and men. When man was created, he stood erect, 
but, according to an Hawaiian myth, had jointless 
arms and limbs. A web of skin connected and fastened 
tightly the arms to the body and the legs to each 
other. "Maui was angry at this motionless statue and 
took him and broke his legs at ankle, knee and hip 
and then, tearing them and the arms from the body, 
destroyed the web. Then he broke the arms at the 
elbow and shoulder. Then man could move from 
place to place, but he had neither fingers nor toes." 
Here comes the most ancient Polynesian statement of 
the theory of evolution: "Hunger impelled man to 
seek his food in the mountains, where his toes were 
cut out by the brambles in climbing, and his fingers 
were also formed by the sharp splinters of the bamboo 
while searching with his arms for food in the ground." 

It was not strange that Maui should feel self-con- 
fident when considering the struggle for immortality 
as a gift to be bestowed upon mankind. And yet his 
father warned him that his time of failure would 
surely come. 

White, who has collected many of the myths and 
legends of New Zealand, states that after Maui had 
ill-treated Mahu-ika, his grandmother, the goddess 


and guardian of fire in the under-world, his father 
and mother tried to teach him to do differently. But 
he refused to listen. Then the father said: 

"You heard our instructions, but please yourself 
and persist for life or death." 

Maui replied: "What do I care? Do you think I 
shall cease? Bather I will persist forever and ever." 

Then his father said: "There is one so powerful 
that no tricks can be of any avail." 

Maui asked: "By what shall I be overcome?" The 
answer was that one of his ancestors, Hine-nui-te-po 
(Great Hine of the night), the guardian of life, would 
overcome him. 

When Maui fished islands out of the deep seas, it 
was said that Hine made her home on the outer edge 
of one of the outermost islands. There the glow of 
the setting sun lighted the thatch of her house and 
covered it with glorious colors. There Great Hine 
herself stood flashing and sparkling on the edge of 
the horizon. 

Maui, in these last days of his life, looked toward 
the west and said: "Let us investigate this matter 
and learn whether life or death shall follow." 

The father replied: "There is evil hanging over 
you. When I chanted the invocation of your child- 
hood, when you were made sacred and guarded by 
charms, I forgot a part of the ceremony. And for 
this you are to die." 


Then Maui said, "Will this be by Hina-nui-te-po ? 
What is she like?" 

The father said that the flashing eyes they could 
see in the distance were dark as greenstone, the teeth 
were as sharp as volcanic glass, her mouth was large 
like a fish, and her hair was floating in the air like 

One of the legends of New Zealand says that Maui 
and his brothers went toward the west, to the edge 
of the horizon, where they saw the goddess of the 
night. Light was flashing from her body. Here they 
found a great pit the home of night. Maui entered 
the pit telling his brothers not to laugh. He passed 
through and turning about started to return. The 
brothers laughed and the walls of night closed in 
around him and held him till he died. 

The longer legend tells how Maui after his conver- 
sation with his father, remembered his conflict with 
the moon. He had tied her so that she could not es- 
cape, but was compelled to bathe in the waters of life 
and return night after night lest men should be in 
darkness when evening came. 

Maui said to the goddess of the moon: "Let death 
be short. As the moon dies and returns with new 
strength, so let men die and revive again." 

But she replied: "Let death be very long, that man 
may sigh and sorrow. When man dies, let him go 


into darkness, become like earth, that those he leaves 
behind may weep and wail and mourn. ' ' 

Maui did not lay aside his purpose, but, according 
to the New Zealand story, "did not wish men to die, 
but to live forever. Death appeared degrading and 
an insult to the dignity of man. Man ought to die 
like the moon, which dips in the life-giving waters of 
Kane and is renewed again, or like the sun, which 
daily sinks into the pit of night and with renewed 
strength rises in the morning." 

Maui sought the home of Hina-nui-te-po the 
guardian of life. He heard her order her attendants 
to watch for any one approaching and capture all 
who came walking upright as a man. He crept past 
the attendants on hands and feet, found the place of 
life, stole some of the food of the goddess and re- 
turned home. He showed the food to his brothers 
and persuaded them to go with him into the darkness 
of the night of death. On the way he changed them 
into the form of birds. In the evening they came to 
the house of the goddess on the island long before 
fished up from the seas. 

Maui warned the birds to refrain from making any 
noise while he made the supreme effort of his life. 
He was about to enter upon his struggle for immor- 
tality. He said to the birds: "If I go into the stom- 
ach of this woman, do not laugh until I have gone 


through her, and come out again at her mouth; then 
you can laugh at me." 

His friends said: "You will be killed." Maui re- 
plied: "If you laugh at me when I have only en- 
tered her stomach I shall be killed, but if I have passed 
through her and come out of her mouth I shall escape 
and Hine-nui-te-po will die." 

His friends called out to him: "Go then. The de- 
cision is with you." 

Hina was sleeping soundly. The flashes of light- 
ning had all ceased. The sunlight had almost passed 
away and the house lay in quiet gloom. Maui came 
near to the sleeping goddess. Her large, fish-like 
mouth was open wide. He put off his clothing and 
prepared to pass through the ordeal of going to the 
hidden source of life, to tear it out of the body of its 
guardian and carry it back with him to mankind. He 
stood in all the glory of savage manhood. His body 
was splendidly marked by the tattoo-bones, and now 
well oiled shone and sparkled in the last rays of the 
setting sun. 

He leaped through the mouth of the enchanted one 
and entered her stomach, weapon in hand, to take out 
her heart, the vital principle which he knew had its 
home somewhere within her being. He found im- 
mortality on the other side of death. He turned to 


come back again into life when suddenly a little bird 
(the Pata-tai) laughed in a clear, shrill tone, and 
Great Hina, through whose mouth Maui was passing, 
awoke. Her sharp, obsidian teeth closed with a snap 
upon Maui, cutting his body in the centre. Thus 
Maui entered the gates of death, but was unable to 
return, and death has ever since been victor over re- 
bellious men. The natives have the saying : 

"If Maui had not died, he could have restored to 
life all who had gone before him, and thus succeeded 
in destroying death." 

Maui's brothers took the dismembered body and 
buried it in a cave called Te-ana-i-hana, "The cave 
dug out," possibly a prepared burial place. 

Maui's wife made war upon the spirits, the gods, 
and killed as many as she could to avenge her hus- 
band's death. One of the old native poets of New 
Zealand, in chanting the story to Mr. White, said: 
"But though Maui was killed, his offspring survived. 
Some of these are at Hawa-i-i-ki and some at Aotea- 
roa (New Zealand), but the greater part of them re- 
mained at Hawa-iki. This history was handed down 
by the generations of our ancestors of ancient times, and 
we continue to rehearse it to our children, with our in- 
cantations and genealogies, and all other matters relat- 
ing to our race." 


Sir George Grey, in his "Polynesian Mythology," 
says : 

"According to the tradition of the Maori this was 
the cause of the introduction of death into the world 
Hine-nui-te-po being the goddess of death ; if Maui had 
passed safely through her then no human beings would 
have died but death itself would have been destroyed. 
The Maoris say, 'We have the saying, " The Water-wag- 
tail laughing at Maui Tiki-tiki-tiki-o-Taranga, made 
Hine-nui-te-po squeeze him to death," and we have this 
proverb, "Men make heirs, but death carries them 

"But death is nothing new, 

Death is, and has been ever since old Maui died. 
Then Pata-tai laughed loud 
And woke the goblin-god, 
Who severed him in two, and shut him in, 
So dusk of eve came on." 

Maori death chant, New Zealand. 


+ff^ INA is not an uncommon name in Hawaiian 
| genealogies. It is usually accompanied by 
some adjective which explains or identifies the 
person to whom the name is given. In Hawaii the 
name Hina is feminine. This is also true throughout 
all Polynesia except in a few cases where Hina is 
reckoned as a man with supernatural attributes. Even 
in these cases it is apparent that the legend has been 
changed from its original form as it has been carried 
to small islands by comparatively ignorant people 
when moving away from their former homes. 

Hina is a Polynesian goddess whose story is very 
interesting one worthy of study when comparing 
the legends of the island groups of the Pacific. The 
Hina of Hilo is the same as the goddess of that name 
most widely known throughout Polynesia and yet 
her legends are located by the ancient Hawaiians in 
Hilo, as if that place were her only home. The 


legends are so old that the Hawaiians have forgotten 
their origin in other lands. The stories were brought 
with the immigrants who settled on the Hilo coast. 
Thus the stories found their final location with the 
families who brought them. There are three Ha- 
waiian Hinas practically distinct from each other, al- 
though a supernatural element is connected with each 
one. Hina who was stolen from Hawaii by a chief 
of the Island of Molokai was an historical character, 
although surrounded by mythical stories. Another 
Hina, who was the wife of Kuula, the fish god, was 
pre-eminently a local deity, having no real connection 
with the legends of the other islands of the Pacific, al- 
though sometimes the stories told concerning her 
have not been kept entirely distinct from the legends 
of the Hina of Hilo. 

The Hilo Hina was the true legendary character 
closely connected with all Polynesia. The stories 
about her are of value not simply as legends, but as 
traditions closely uniting the Hawaiian Islands with 
the island groups thousands of miles distant. The 
"Wailuku river, which flows through the town of Hilo, 
has its own peculiar and weird beauty. For miles it 
is a series of waterfalls and rapids. It follows the 
course of an ancient lava flow, sometimes forcing its 
way under bridges of lava, thus forming what are 
called boiling pots, and sometimes pouring in mas- 
sive sheets over the edges of precipices which never 


disintegrate. By the side of this river Hina's son 
Maui had his lands. In the very bed of the river, in 
a cave under one of the largest falls, Hina made her 
own home, concealed from the world by the silver 
veil of falling water and lulled to sleep by the con- 
tinual roar of the flood falling into the deep pool be- 
low. By the side of this river, the legends say, she 
pounded her tapa and prepared her food. Here were 
the small, graceful mamake and the coarser wauke 
trees, from which the bark was stripped with which 
she made tapa cloth. Branches were cut or broken 
from these and other trees whose bark was fit for the 
purpose. These branches were well soaked until the 
bark was removed easily. Then the outer bark was 
scraped off, leaving only the pliable inner bark. The 
days were very short and there was no time for rest 
while making tapa cloth. Therefore, as soon as the 
morning light reddened the clouds, Hina would take 
her calabash filled with water to pour upon the bark, 
and her little bundle of round clubs (the hohoa) and 
her four-sided mallets (the i-e-kuku) and hasten to 
the sacred spot where, with chants and incantations, 
the tapa was made. 

The bark was well soaked in the water all the days 
of the process of tapa making. Hina took small bun- 
dles of the wet inner bark and laid them on the kua 
or heavy tapa board, pounding them together into a 
pulpy mass with her round clubs. Then using the 


four-sided mallets, she beat this pulp into thin sheets. 
Beautiful tapa, soft as silk, was made by adding pulpy 
mass to pulpy mass and beating it day after day until 
the fibres were lost and a sheet of close-woven bark 
cloth was formed. Although Hina was a goddess and 
had a family possessing miraculous power, it never 
entered the mind of the Hawaiian legend tellers to 
endoAV her with ease in producing wonderful results.' 
The legends of the Southern Pacific Islands show 
more imagination. They say that Ina (Hina) was 
such a wonderful artist in making beautiful tapas that 
she was placed in the skies, where she beat out glist- 
ening fine tapas, the white and glorious clouds. When 
she stretches these cloud sheets out to dry, she 
places stones along the edges, so that the fierce winds 
of the heavens shall not blow them away. When she 
throws these stones aside, the skies reverberate with 
thunder. When she rolls her cloud sheets of tapa to- 
gether, the folds glisten with flashes of light and light- 
ning leaps from sheet to sheet. 

The Hina of Hilo was grieved as she toiled be- 
cause after she had pounded the sheets out so thin 
that they were ready to be dried, she found it almost 
impossible to secure the necessary aid of the sun in 
the drying process. She would rise as soon as she 
could see and hasten to spread out the tapa made the 
day before. But the sun always hurried so fast that 
the sheets could not dry. He leaped from the ocean 


waters in the earth, rushed across the heavens and 
plunged into the dark waters again on the other side 
of the island before she could even turn her tapas so 
that they might dry evenly. This legend of very 
short days is strange because of its place not only 
among the myths of Hawaii but also because it be- 
longs to practically all the tropical islands of the 
Pacific Ocean. In Tahiti the legends said that the 
sun rushed across the sky very rapidly. The days 
were too short for fruits to ripen or for work to be 
finished. In Samoa the "mats" made by Sina had no 
time to dry. The ancestors of the Polynesians some- 
time somewhere must have been in the region of short 
days and long nights. Hina found that her incanta- 
tions had no influence with the sun. She could not 
prevail upon him to go slower and give her more time 
for the completion of her task. Then she called on 
her powerful son, Maui-ki-i-ki-i, for aid. 

Some of the legends of the Island Maui say that 
Hina dwelt by the sea coast of that island near the 
high hill Kauwiki at the foot of the great mountain 
Haleakala, House of the Sun, and that there, facing 
the southern skies under the most favorable condi- 
tions for making tapa, she found the days too short 
for the tapa to dry. At the present time the Hawaiians 
point out a long, narrow stone not far from the surf 
and almost below the caves in which the great queen 
Kaahumanu spent the earliest days of her childhood. 


This stone is said to be the kua or tapa board on 
which Hina pounded the bark for her cloth. Other 
legends of that same island locate Hina's home on 
the northeast coast near Pohakuloa. 

The Hilo legends, however, do not deem it neces- 
sary that Hina and Maui should have their home 
across the wide channel which divides the Island Ha- 
waii from the Island Maui in order to wage war suc- 
cessfully with the inconsiderate sun. Hina remained 
in her home by the Wailuku river, sometimes resting 
in her cave under Rainbow Falls, and sometimes work- 
ing on the river bank, trusting her powerful son Maui 
to make the swiftly-passing lord of day go more 

Maui possessed many supernatural powers. He could 
assume the form of birds or insects. He could call on 
the winds to do his will, or he could, if he wished, 
traverse miles with a single stride. It is interesting 
to note that the Hilo legends differ as to the way in 
which Ma-ui the man passed over to Mau-i the island. 
One legend says that he crossed the channel, miles wide, 
with a single step. Another says that he launched his 
canoe and with a breath the god of the winds placed 
him on the opposite coast, while another story says 
that Maui assumed the form of a white chicken, which 
flew over the waters to Haleakala. Here he took ropes 
made from the fibre of trees and vines and lassoed the 
sun while it climbed the side of the mountain and 


entered the great crater which hollows out the sum- 
mit. The sun came through a large gap in the east- 
ern side of the crater, rushing along as rapidly as 
possible. Then Maui threw his lassos one after the 
other over the sun's legs (the rays of light), holding 
him fast and breaking off some of them. With a 
magic club Maui struck the face of the sun again and 
again. At last, wounded and weary, and also limp- 
ing on its broken legs, the sun promised Maui to go 
slowly forevermore. 

"La" among the Polynesians, like the word "Ra" 
among the Egyptians, means "sun" or "day" or "sun- 
god" and the mountain where the son of Hina won 
his victory over the monster of the heavens has long 
borne the name Hale-a-ka-la, or House of the Sun. 

Hina of Hilo soon realised the wonderful deed which 
Maui had done. She spread out her fine tapas with 
songs of joy and cheerily performed the task which 
filled the hours of the day. The comfort of sunshine 
and cooling winds came with great power into Hina's 
life, bringing to her renewed joy and beauty. 


are two rivers of rushing, tumbling rapids 
and waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands, both 
bearing the name of Wailuku. One is on the 
Island of Maui, flowing out of a deep gorge in the 
side of the extinct volcano lao. Yosemite-like precipices 
surround this majestically- walled crater. The name 
lao means ' ' asking for clouds. ' ' The head of the crater- 
valley is almost always covered with great masses of 
heavy rain clouds. Out of the crater the massed waters 
rush in a swift-flowing stream of only four or five miles, 
emptying into Kahului harbor. The other Wailuku 
river is on the Island of Hawaii. The snows melt on 
the summits of the two great mountains, Mauna Kea 
and Mauna Loa. The water seeps through the porous 
lava from the eastern slope of Mauna Loa and the 
southern slope of Mauna Kea, meeting where the lava 
flows of centuries from each mountain have piled up 
against each other. Through the fragments of these 

Rainbow Falls (Hina's Home). 


volcanic battles the waters creep down the mountain 
side toward the sea. 

At one place, a number of miles above the city of 
Hilo, the waters were heard gurgling and splashing 
far below the surface. Water was needed for the 
sugar plantations, which modern energy has estab- 
lished all along the eastern coast of the large island. 
A tunnel was cut into the lava, the underground 
stream was tapped and an abundant supply of water 
secured and sluiced down to the large plantations 
below. The head waters of the "Wailuku river gath- 
ered from the melting snow of the mountains found 
these channels, which centred at last in the bed of 
a very ancient and very interesting lava flow. Some- 
times breaking forth in a large, turbulent flood, the 
stream forces its way over and around the huge blocks 
of lava which mark the course of the eruption of long 
ago. Sometimes it courses in a tunnel left by the 
flowing lava and comes up from below in a series of 
boiling pools. Then again it falls in majestic sheets 
over high walls of worn precipices. Several large 
falls and some very picturesque smaller cascades in- 
terspersed with rapids and natural bridges give to. 
this river a beauty peculiarly its own. The most 
weird of all the rough places through which the Wai- 
luku river flows is that known as the basin of Rain- 
bow Falls near Hilo. Here Hina, the moon goddess 
of the Polynesians, lived in a great open cave, over 


which the falls hung their misty, rainbow-tinted veil. 
Her son Maui, the mighty demi-god of Polynesia, sup- 
posed by some writers to be the sun-god of the Poly- 
nesians, had extensive lands along the northern bank 
of the river. Here among his cultivated fields he had 
his home, from which he went forth to accomplish 
the wonders attributed to him in the legends of the 

Below the cave in which Hina dwelt the river fought 
its way through a narrow gorge and then, in a series 
of many small falls, descended to the little bay, where 
its waters mingled with the surf of the salt sea. Far 
above the cave, in the bed of the river, dwelt Kuna. 
The district through which that portion of the river 
runs bears to this day the name "Wai-kuna" or 
"Kuna's river." When the writer was talking with 
the natives concerning this part of the old legend, they 
said "Kuna is not a Hawaiian word. It means some- 
thing like a snake or a dragon, something we do not 
have in these islands." This, they thought, made the 
connection with the Hina legend valueless until they 
were shown that Tuna (or kuna) was the New Zealand 
name of a reptile which attacked Hina and struck her 
with his tail like a crocodile, for which Maui killed him. 
When this was understood, the Hawaiians were greatly 
interested to give the remainder of this legend and 
compare it with the New Zealand story. In New 
Zealand there are several statements concerning Tuna's 


dwelling place. He is sometimes represented as com- 
ing from a pool to attack Hina and sometimes from 
a distant stream, and sometimes from the river by 
which Hina dwelt. The Hawaiians told of the annoy- 
ances which Hina endured from Kuna while he lived 
above her home in the Wailuku. He would stop up 
the river and fill it with dirt as when the freshets 
brought down the debris of the storms from the moun- 
tain sides. He would throw logs and rolling stones 
into the stream that they might be carried over the 
falls and drive Hina from her cave. He had sought 
Hina in many ways and had been repulsed again and 
again until at last hatred took the place of all more 
kindly feelings and he determined to destroy the divine 

Hina was frequently left with but little protection, 
and yet from her home in the cave feared nothing that 
Kuna could do. Precipices guarded the cave on either 
side, and any approach of an enemy through the fall- 
ing water could be easily thwarted. So her chants 
rang out through the river valley even while floods 
swirled around her, and Kuna's missiles were falling 
over the rocky bed of the stream toward her. Kuna 
became very angry and, uttering great curses and 
calling upon all his magic forces to aid him, caught a 
great stone and at night hurled it into the gorge of 
the river below Hina's home, filling the river bed from 
bank to bank. "Ah, Hina! Now is the danger, for 


the river rises. The water cannot flow away. Awake! 

Hina is not aware of this evil which is so near. The 
water rises and rises, higher and higher. "Auwe! 
Auwe ! Alas, alas, Hina must perish ! ' ' The water 
entered the opening of the cave and began to creep 
along the floor. Hina cannot fly, except into the very 
arms of her great enemy, who is waiting to destroy her. 
Then Hina called for Maui. Again and again her voice 
went out from the cave. It pierced through the storms 
and the clouds which attended Kuna's attack upon her. 
It swept along the side of the great mountain. It 
crossed the channel between the islands of Hawaii and 
Maui. Its anguish smote the side of the great moun- 
tain Haleakala, where Maui had been throwing his 
lassoes around the sun and compelling him to go more 
slowly. When Maui heard Hina's cry for help echoing 
from cliff to cliff and through the ravines, he leaped at 
once to rush to her assistance. 

Some say that Hina, the goddess, had a cloud ser- 
vant, the "ao-opua," the "warning cloud," which rose 
swiftly above the falls when Hina cried for aid and 
then, assuming a peculiar shape, stood high above the 
hills that Maui might see it. Down the mountain he 
leaped to his magic canoe. Pushing it into the sea 
with two mighty strokes of his paddle he crossed the 
sea to the mouth of the "Wailuku river. Here even to 
the present day lies a long double rock, surrounded 


Wailuku River (the Home of Kuna). 


by the waters of the bay, which the natives call Ka 
waa o Maui, "The canoe of Maui." It represents to 
Hawaiian thought the magic canoe with which Maui 
always sailed over the ocean more swiftly than any 
winds could carry him. Leaving his canoe, Maui seized 
the magic club with which he had conquered the sun 
after lassoing him, and rushed along the dry bed of 
the river to the place of danger. Swinging the club 
swiftly around his head, he struck the dam holding back 
the water of the rapidly-rising river. 

"Ah! Nothing can withstand the magic club. The 
bank around one end of the dam gives way. The im- 
prisoned waters leap into the new channel. Safe is Hina 
the goddess." 

Kuna heard the crash of the club against the stones 
of the river bank and fled up the river to his home in 
the hidden caves by the pools in the river bed. Maui 
rushed up the river to punish Kuna-mo-o for the trouble 
he had caused Hina. When he came to the place where 
the dragon was hidden under deep waters, he took his 
magic spear and thrust it through the dirt and lava 
rocks along one side of the river, making a long hole, 
through which the waters rushed, revealing Kuna-mo-o 's 
hiding place. This place of the spear thrust is known 
among the Hawaiians as Ka puka a Maui, "the door 
made by Maui." It is also known as "The natural 
bridge of the Wailuku river." 

Kuna-mo-o fled to his different hiding places, but 


Maui broke up the river bed and drove the dragon 
out from every one, following him from place to place 
as he fled down the river. Apparently this is a legend- 
ary account of earthquakes. At last Kuna-mo-o found 
what seemed to be a safe hiding place in a series of deep 
pools, but Maui poured a lava flow into the river. He 
threw red-hot burning stones into the water until the 
pools were boiling and the steam was rising in clouds. 
Kuna uttered incantation after incantation, but the 
water scalded and burned him. Dragon as he was, his 
hard, tough skin was of no avail. The pain was becom- 
ing unbearable. With cries to his gods he leaped from 
the pools and fled down the river. The waters of the 
pools are no longer scalding, but they have never lost 
the tumbling, tossing, foaming, boiling swirl which Maui 
gave to them when he threw into them the red-hot stones 
with which he hoped to destroy Kuna, and they are 
known to-day as "The Boiling Pots." 

Some versions of the legend say that Maui poured 
boiling water in the river and sent it in swift pursuit 
of Kuna, driving him from point to point and scalding 
his life out of him. Others say that Maui chased the 
dragon, striking him again and again with his conse- 
crated weapons, following Kuna down from falls to 
falls until he came to the place where Hina dwelt. 
Then, feeling that there was little use in flight, Kuna 
battled with Maui. His struggles were of no avail. 


He was forced over the falls into the stream below. 
Hina and her women encouraged Maui by their 
chants and strengthened him by the most powerful 
incantations with which they were acquainted. Great 
was their joy when they beheld Kuna's ponderous 
body hurled over the falls. Eagerly they watched the 
dragon as the swift waters swept him against the dam 
with which he had hoped to destroy Hina; and when 
the whirling waves caught him and dashed him 
through the new channel made by Maui's magic club, 
they rejoiced and sang the praise of the mighty war- 
rior who had saved them. Maui had rushed along the 
bank of the river with tremendous strides overtaking 
the dragon as he was rolled over and over among the 
small waterfalls near the mouth of the river. Here 
Maui again attacked Kuna, at last beating the life out 
of his body. "Moo-Kuna" was the name given by 
the Hawaiians to the dragon. "Moo" means anything 
in lizard shape, but Kuna was unlike any lizard known 
in the Hawaiian Islands. Moo Kuna is the name some- 
times given to a long black stone lying like an island 
in the waters between the small falls of the river. As 
one who calls attention to this legendary black stone 
says: "As if he were not dead enough already, every 
big freshet in the stream beats him and pounds him 
and drowns him over and over as he would have 
drowned Hina." A New Zealand legend relates a con- 
flict of incantations, somewhat like the filling in of the 


Wailuku river by Kuna, and the cleaving of a new 
channel by Maui with the different use of means. In 
New Zealand the river is closed by the use of powerful 
incantations and charms and re-opened by the use of 
those more powerful. 

In the Hervey Islands, Tuna, the god of eels, loved 
Ina (Hina) and finally died for her, giving his head 
to be buried. From this head sprang two cocoanut 
trees, bearing fruit marked with Tuna's eyes and 

In Samoa the battle was between an owl and a serpent. 
The owl conquered by calling in the aid of a 

This story of Hina apparently goes far back in the 
traditions of Polynesians, even to their ancient home 
in Hawaiki, from which it was taken by one branch 
of the family to New Zealand and by another to the 
Hawaiian Islands and other groups in the Pacific Ocean. 
The dragon may even be a remembrance of the days 
when the Polynesians were supposed to dwell by the 
banks of the River Ganges in India, when crocodiles 
were dangerous enemies and heroes saved families from 
their destructive depredations. 


legends about Hina and her famous son Maui 
and her less widely known daughters are com- 
mon property among the natives of the beau- 
tiful little city of Hilo. One of these legends of more 
than ordinary interest finds its location in the three 
small hills back of Hilo toward the mountains. 

These hills are small craters connected with some 
ancient lava flow of unusual violence. The eruption 
must have started far up on the slopes of Mauna Loa. 
As it sped down toward the sea it met some obstruc- 
tion which, although overwhelmed, checked the flow 
and caused a great mass of cinders and ashes to be 
thrown out until a large hill with a hollow crater was 
built up, covering many acres of ground. 

Soon the lava found another vent and then another 
obstruction and a second and then a third hill were 
formed nearer the sea. These hills or extinct craters 
bear the names Halai, Opeapea and Puu Honu. They 


are not far from the Wailuku river, famous for its 
picturesque waterfalls and also for the legends which 
are told along its banks. Here Maui had his lands 
overlooking the steep bluffs. Here in a cave under 
the Rainbow Falls was the home of Hina, the mother 
of Maui, according to the Hawaiian stories. Other 
parts of the Pacific sometimes make Hina Maui's wife, 
and sometimes a goddess from whom he descended. 
In the South Sea legends Hina was thought to have 
married the moon. Her home was in the skies, where 
she wove beautiful tapa cloths (the clouds), which were 
bright and glistening, so that when she rolled them up 
flashes of light (cloud lightning) could be seen on the 
earth. She laid heavy stones on the corners of these 
tapas, but sometimes the stones rolled off and made 
the thunder. Hina of the Rainbow Falls was a famous 
tapa maker whose tapa was the cause of Maui's conflict 
with the sun. 

Hina had several daughters, four of whose names 
are given: Hina Ke Ahi, Hina Ke Kai, Hina Mahuia, 
and Hina Kuluua. Each name marked the peculiar 
"mana" or divine gift which Hina, the mother, had 
bestowed upon her daughters. 

Hina Ke Ahi meant the Hina who had control of 
fire. This name is sometimes given to Hina the mother. 
Hina Ke Kai was the daughter who had power 
over the sea. She was said to have been in a 
canoe with her brother Maui when he fished up Co- 


coanut Island, his line breaking before he could pull 
it up to the mainland and make it fast. Hina Kuluua 
was the mistress over the forces of rain. The winds 
and the storms were supposed to obey her will. Hina 
Mahuia is peculiarly a name connected with the legends 
of the other island groups of the Pacific. Mahuia or 
Mafuie was a god or goddess of fire all through Poly- 

The legend of the Hilo hills pertains especially to 
Hina Ke Ahi and Hina Kuluua. Hina the mother 
gave the hill Halai to Hina Ke Ahi and the hill Puu 
Honu to Hina Kuluua for their families and depen- 

The hills were of rich soil and there was much rain. 
Therefore, for a long time, the two daughters had 
plenty of food for themselves and their people, but 
at last the days were like fire and the sky had no rain 
in it. The taro planted on the hillsides died. The 
bananas and sugar cane and sweet potatoes withered 
and the fruit on the trees was blasted. The people 
were faint because of hunger, and the shadow of death 
was over the land. Hina Ke Ahi pitied her suffering 
friends and determined to provide food for them. 
Slowly her people labored at her command. Over they 
went to the banks of the river course, which was only 
the bed of an ancient lava stream, over which no water 
was flowing ; the famished laborers toiled, gathering and 
carrying back whatever wood they could find, then up 


the mountain side to the great koa and ohia forests, 
gathering their burdens of fuel according to the wishes 
of their chiefess. 

Their sorcerers planted charms along the way and 
uttered incantations to ward off the danger of failure. 
The priests offered sacrifices and prayers for the safe 
and successful return of the burden-bearers. After 
many days the great quantity of wood desired by the 
goddess was piled up by the side of the Halai Hill. 

Then came the days of digging out the hill and mak- 
ing a great imu or cooking oven and preparing it with 
stones and wood. Large quantities of wood were thrown 
into the place. Stones best fitted for retaining heat 
were gathered and the fires kindled. When the stones 
were hot, Hina Ke Ahi directed the people to arrange 
the imu in its proper order for cooking the materials 
for a great feast. A place was made for sweet potatoes, 
another for taro, another for pigs and another for dogs. 
All the form of preparing the food for cooking was 
passed through, but no real food was laid on the stones. 
Then Hina told them to make a place in the imu for 
a human sacrifice. Probably out of every imu of the 
long ago a small part of the food was offered to the gods, 
and there may have been a special place in the imu 
for that part of the food to be cooked. At any rate 
Hina had this oven so built that the people understood 
that a remarkable sacrifice would be offered in it to the 


gods, who for some reason had sent the famine upon 
the people. 

Human sacrifices were frequently offered by the 
Hawaiians even after the days of the coming of Captain 
Cook. A dead body was supposed to be acceptable 
to the gods when a chief's house was built, when a 
chief's canoe was to be made or when temple walls 
were to be erected or victories celebrated. The bodies 
of the people belonged to the will of the chief. There- 
fore it was in quiet despair that the workmen obeyed 
Hina Ke Ahi and prepared the place for sacrifice. It 
might mean their own holocaust as an offering to the 
gods. At last Hina Ke Ahi bade the laborers cease 
their work and stand by the side of the oven ready 
to cover it with the dirt which had been thrown out 
and piled up by the side. The people stood by, not 
knowing upon whom the blow might fall. 

But Hina Ke Ahi was "Hina the kind," and although 
she stood before them robed in royal majesty and power, 
still her face was full of pity and love. Her voice melted 
the hearts of her retainers as she bade them carefully 
follow her directions. 

"0 my people. Where are you? Will you obey and 
do as I command? This imu is my imu. I shall lie 
down on its bed of burning stones. I shall sleep under 
its cover. But deeply cover me or I may perish. 
Quickly throw the dirt over my body. Fear not the 


fire. Watch for three days. A woman will stand by 
the imu. Obey her will." 

Hina Ke Ahi was very beautiful, and her eyes flashed 
light like fire as she stepped into the great pit and lay 
down on the burning stones. A great smoke arose 
and gathered over the imu. The men toiled rapidly, 
placing the imu mats over their chiefess and throwing 
the dirt back into the oven until it was all thoroughly 
covered and the smoke was quenched. 

Then they waited for the strange, mysterious thing 
which must follow the sacrifice of this divine chiefess. 

Halai hill trembled and earthquakes shook the land 
round about. The great heat of the fire in the imu 
withered the little life which was still left from the 
famine. Meanwhile Hina Ke Ahi was carrying out 
her plan for securing aid for her people. She could 
not be injured by the heat for she was a goddess of 
fire. The waves of heat raged around her as she sank 
down through the stones of the imu into the under- 
ground paths which belonged to the spirit world. The 
legend says that Hina made her appearance in the form 
of a gushing stream of water which would always 
supply the want of her adherents. The second day 
passed. Hina was still journeying underground, but 
this time she came to the surface as a pool named Moe 
Waa (canoe sleep) much nearer the sea. The third 
day came and Hina caused a great spring of sweet 
water to burst forth from the sea shore in the very 


path of the ocean surf. This received the name Auau- 
wai. Here Hina washed away all traces of her journey 
through the depths. This was the last of the series 
of earthquakes and the appearance of new water 
springs. The people waited, feeling that some more 
wonderful event must follow the remarkable experiences 
of the three days. Soon a woman stood by the imu, 
who commanded the laborers to dig away the dirt and 
remove the mats. When this was done, the hungry 
people found a very great abundance of food, enough 
to supply their want until the food plants should have 
time to ripen and the days of the famine should be 

The joy of the people was great when they knew 
that their chiefess had escaped death and would still 
dwell among them in comfort. Many were the songs 
sung and stories told about the great famine and the 
success of the goddess of fire. 

The second sister, Hina Kuluua, the goddess of rain, 
was always very jealous of her beautiful sister Hina 
Ke Ahi, and many times sent rain to put out fires which 
her sister tried to kindle. Hina Ke Ahi could not stand 
the rain and so fled with her people to a home by the 

Hina Kuluua (or Hina Kuliua as she was some- 
times known among the Hawaiians) could control rain 
and storms, but for some reason failed to provide a 
food supply for her people, and the famine wrought 


havoc among them. She thought of the stories told 
and songs sung about her sister and wished for the 
same honor for herself. She commanded her people 
to make a great imu for her in the hill Puu Honu. 
She knew that a strange power belonged to her and 
yet, blinded by jealousy, forgot that rain and fire could 
not work together. She planned to furnish a great 
supply of food for her people in the same way in which 
her sister had worked. 

The oven was dug. Stones and wood were collected 
and the same ghostly array of potatoes, taro, pig and 
dog prepared as had been done before by her sister. 

The kahunas or priests knew that Hina Kuluua was 
going out of her province in trying to do as her sister 
had done, but there was no use in attempting to change 
her plans. Jealousy is self-willed and obstinate and 
no amount of reasoning from her dependents could 
have any influence over her. 

The ordinary incantations were observed, and Hina 
Kuluua gave the same directions as those her sister 
had given. The imu was to be well heated. The make- 
believe food was to be put in and a place left for her 
body. It was the goddess of rain making ready to lie 
down on a bed prepared for the goddess of fire. When 
all was ready, she lay down on the heated stones and 
the oven mats were thrown over her and the ghostly 
provisions. Then the covering of dirt was thrown back 
upon the mats and heated stones, filling the pit which 

On Lava Beds. 


had been dug. The goddess of rain was left to prepare 
a feast for her people as the goddess of fire had done 
for her followers. 

Some of the legends have introduced the demi-god 
Maui into this story. The natives say that Maui came 
to "burn" or "cook the rain" and that he made the 
oven very hot, but that the goddess of rain escaped 
and hung over the hill in the form of a cloud. At least 
this is what the people saw not a cloud of smoke over 
the imu, but a rain cloud. They waited and watched 
for such evidences of underground labor as attended 
the passage of Hina Ke Ahi through the earth from 
the hill to the sea, but the only strange appearance 
was the dark rain cloud. They waited three days and 
looked for their chiefess to come in the form of a woman. 
They waited another day and still another and no signs 
or wonders were manifest. Meanwhile Maui, changing 
himself into a white bird, flew up into the sky to catch 
the ghost of the goddess of rain which had escaped from 
the burning oven. Having caught this spirit, he rolled 
it in some kapa cloth which he kept for food to be placed 
in an oven and carried it to a place in the forest on 
the mountain side where again the attempt was made 
to "burn the rain," but a great drop escaped and 
sped upward into the sky. Again Maui caught the 
ghost of the goddess and carried it to a pali or precipice 
below the great volcano Kilauea, where he again tried 
to destroy it in the heat of a great lava oven, but this 


time the spirit escaped and found a safe refuge among 
kukui trees on the mountain side, from which she some- 
times rises in clouds which the natives say are the sure 
sign of rain. 

"Whether this Maui legend has any real connection 
with the two Hinas and the famine we do not surely 
know. The legend ordinarily told among the Ha- 
waiians says that after five days had passed the re- 
tainers decided on their own responsibility to open 
the imu. No woman had appeared to give them direc- 
tions. Nothing but a mysterious rain cloud over the 
hill. In doubt and fear, the dirt was thrown off and 
the mats removed. Nothing was found but the ashes 
of Hina Kuluua. There was no food for her followers 
and the goddess had lost all power of appearing as a 
chief ess. Her bitter and thoughtless jealousy brought 
destruction upon herself and her people. The ghosts 
of Hina Ke Ahi and Hina Kuluua sometimes draw 
near to the old hills in the form of the fire of flowing 
lava or clouds of rain while the old men and women 
tell the story of the Hinas, the sisters of Maui, who 
were laid upon the burning stones of the imus of a 


Wailuku river has by its banks far up the 
mountain side some of the most ancient of the 
various interesting picture rocks of the Ha- 
waiian Islands. The origin of the Hawaiian picture 
writing is a problem still unsolved, but the picture 
rocks of the Wailuku river are called "na kii o Maui," 
"the Maui pictures." Their antiquity is beyond ques- 

The most prominent figure cut in these rocks is that 
of the crescent moon. The Hawaiian legends do not 
attempt any direct explanation of the meaning of this 
picture writing. The traditions of the Polynesians both 
concerning Hina and Maui look to Hina as the moon 
goddess of their ancestors, and in some measure the 
Hawaiian stories confirm the traditions of the other 
island groups of the Pacific. 

Fornander, in his history of the Polynesian race, 
gives the Hawaiian story of Hina's ascent to the 


moon, but applies it to a Hina the wife of a chief 
called Aikanaka rather than to the Hina of Hilo, the 
wife of Akalana, the father of Maui. However, For- 
nander evidently found some difficulty in determining 
the status of the one to whom he refers the legend, 
for he calls her "the mysterious wife of Aikanaka." 
In some of the Hawaiian legends Hina, the mother 
of Maui, lived on the southeast coast of the Island 
Maui at the foot of a hill famous in Hawaiian story 
as Kauiki. Fornander says that this "mysterious 
wife" of Aikanaka bore her children Puna and Huna, 
the latter a noted sea-rover among the Polynesians, 
at the foot of this hill Kauiki. It can very easily be 
supposed that a legend of the Hina connected with 
the derni-god Maui might be given during the course 
of centuries to the other Hina, the mother of Huna. 
The application of the legend would make no differ- 
ence to anyone were it not for the fact that the story 
of Hina and her ascent to the moon has been handed 
down in different forms among the traditions of 
Samoa, New Zealand, Tonga, Hervey Islands, Fate 
Islands, Nauru and other Pacific island groups. The 
Polynesian name of the moon, Mahina or Masina, is 
derived from Hina, the goddess mother of Maui. It 
is even possible to trace the name back to "Sin," the 
moon god of the Assyrians. 

The moon goddess of Ponape was Ina-maram. (Ha- 
waiian Hina-malamalama), "Hina giving light." 


In the Paumotan Islands an eclipse of the sun is 
called Higa-higa-hana (Hina-hina-hana), "The act 
(hana) of Hina the moon." 

In New Zealand moonless nights were called "Dark 

In Tahiti it is said there was war among the gods. 
They cursed the stars. Hina saved them, although they 
lost a little light. Then they cursed the sea, but Hina 
preserved the tides. They cursed the rivers, but Hina 
saved the springs the moving waters inland, like the 
tides in the ocean. 

The Hawaiians say that Hina and her maidens 
pounded out the softest, finest kapa cloth on the long, 
thick kapa board at the foot of Kauiki. Incessantly 
the restless sea dashed its spray over the picturesque 
groups of splintered lava rocks which form the Kauiki 
headland. Here above the reach of the surf still lies 
the long, black stone into which the legends say Hina's 
kapa board was changed. Here Hina took the leaves 
of the hala tree and, after the manner of the Hawaiian 
women of the ages past, braided mats for the household 
to sleep upon, and from the nuts of the kukui trees 
fashioned the torches which were burned around the 
homes of those of high chief rank. 

At last she became weary of her work among mor- 
tals. Her family had become more and more trouble- 
some. It was said that her sons were unruly and her 
husband lazy and shiftless. She looked into the heavens 


and determined to flee up the pathway of her rainbow 
through the clouds. 

The Sun was very bright and Hina said, "I will go 
to the Sun." So she left her home very early in the 
morning and climbed up, higher, higher, until the heat 
of the rays of the sun beat strongly upon her and weak- 
ened her so that she could scarcely crawl along her 
beautiful path. Up a little higher and the clouds no 
longer gave her even the least shadow. The heat from 
the sun was so great that she began to feel the fire 
shriveling and torturing her. Quickly she slipped 
down into the storms around her rainbow and then 
back to earth. As the day passed her strength came 
back, and when the full moon rose through the shadows 
of the night she said, "I will climb to the moon and 
there find rest." 

But when Hina began to go upward her husband 
saw her and called to her: "Do not go into the 
heavens." She answered him: "My mind is fixed; I 
will go to my new husband, the moon." And she 
climbed up higher and higher. Her husband ran to- 
ward her. She was almost out of reach, but he leaped 
and caught her foot. This did not deter Hina from 
her purpose. She shook off her husband, but as he fell 
he broke her leg so that the lower part came off in his 
hands. Hina went up through the stars, crying out 
the strongest incantations she could use. The powers 
of the night aided her. The mysterious hands of dark- 


ness lifted her, until she stood at the door of the moon. 
She had packed her calabash with her most priceless 
possessions and had carried it with her even when 
injured by her cruel husband. With her calabash she 
limped into the moon and found her abiding home. 
When the moon is full, the Hawaiians of the long ago, 
aye and even to-day, look into the quiet silvery light 
and see the goddess in her celestial home, her calabash 
by her side. 

The natives call her now Lono-moku, "the crippled 
Lono." From this watch tower in the heavens she 
pointed out to Kahai, one of her descendants, the way 
to rise up into the skies. The ancient chant thus de- 
scribes his ascent : 

"The rainbow is the path of Kahai. 
Kahai rose. Kahai bestirred himself. 
Kahai passed on the floating cloud of Kane. 
Perplexed were the eyes of Alihi. 
Kahai passed on on the glancing light. 
The glancing light on men and canoea. 
Above was Hanaiakamalama. " (Hina). 

Thus under the care of his ancestress Hina, Kahai, 
the great sea-rover, made his ascent in quest of adven- 
tures among the immortals. 

In the Tongan Islands the legends say that Hina 
remains in the moon watching over the "fire- walkers" 
as their great protecting goddess. 


The Hervey Island traditions say that the Moon 
(Mararaa) had often seen Hina and admired her, and 
at last had come down and caught her up to live with 
himself. The moonlight in its glory is called Inamotea, 
"the brightness of Ina." 

The story as told on Atiu Island (one of the So- 
ciety group) is that Hina took her human husband 
with her to the moon, where they dwelt happily for a 
time, but as he grew old she prepared a rainbow, down 
which he descended to the earth to die, leaving Hina 
forevermore as "the woman in the moon." The Savage 
Islanders worshipped the spirits of their ancestors, say- 
ing that many of them went up to the land of Sina, 
the always bright land in the skies. To the natives 
of Niue Island, Hina has been the goddess ruling over 
all tapa making. They say that her home is "Motu a 
Hina," "the island of Hina," the home of the dead 
in the skies. 

The Samoans said that the Moon received Hina and 
a child, and also her tapa board and mallet and ma- 
terial for the manufacture of tapa cloth. Therefore, 
when the moon is shining in full splendor, they shade 
their eyes and look for the goddess and the tools with 
which she fashions the tapa clouds in the heavens. 

The New Zealand legend says that the woman went 
after water in the night. As she passed down the 
path to the spring the bright light of the full moon 
made the way easy for her quick footsteps, but when 


she had filled her calabash and started homeward, 
suddenly the bright light was hidden by a passing 
cloud and she stumbled against a stone in the path 
and fell to the ground, spilling the water she was car- 
rying. Then she became very angry and cursed the 
moon heartily. Then the moon became angry and 
swiftly swept down upon her from the skies, grasp- 
ing her and lifting her up. In her terrible fight she 
caught a small tree with one hand and her calabash 
with the other. But oh! the strong moon pulled her 
up with the tree and the calabash and there in the 
full moon they can all be traced when the nights are 

Pleasant or Nauru Island, in which a missionary 
from Central Union Church, Honolulu, is laboring, 
tells the story of Gigu, a beautiful young woman, who 
has many of the experiences of Hina. She opened the 
eyes of the Mother of the Moon as Hina, in some of 
the Polynesian legends, is represented to have opened 
the eyes of one of the great goddesses, and in reward 
is married to Maraman, the Moon, with whom she 
lives ever after, and in whose embrace she can always 
be seen when the moon is full. Gigu is Hina under 
another and more guttural form of speech. Maraman 
is the same as Malama, one of the Polynesian names 
for the moon. 



Akea or Atea. see Wakea 41 

Akalana, or Ataranga 4, 166 

Alae birds 12, 18, 27, 62, 65, 120, 123 

Alae-Huapi 120 

Alae-nui-a-Hina 123 

Ao-tea-roa 23, 93, 106, 108, 137 

Aumakuas 26 

Ava-iki, or Hawa-i-ki 5, 37, 41, 52, 72, 137 

Awa 8 

Axe, Stone 93, 94 

Bailing dish 123 

Bananas 45, 64 

Banyan 56, 71 

Barbs, spears 79, 101 

Birds 85, 110, 112, 135, 144 

Bird-machine 125 

Birds, painted 85, 112 

Black rock 32, 48 

Boiling pots 100, 152 

Bones, fish hooks 15, 83 

Brittany 57 

Bua-Taran-ga 5 

Cain and Abel 89 

Calabash 19, 31, 84, 115 

Cannibalism 91, 93 

Canoe, Haul's 28, 118, 150 

Cats-cradle 86 

Cloud, Maui's-ao-opua 150 


Coco-nut Island 19, 23 

Cook, Captain 7 

Cooking the rain 163 

Coral 29 

Creation 4, 80, 86 

Crocodile 148 

Death 25, 38, 67, 82, 137, 170 

Death chant 138 

Dog 80, 102 

Dragon 97, 148, 153 

Earth twisted 12, 15 

Eclipse ' 42, 158 

Eel 7, 33, 83, 94, 130 

Eel baskets 79, 102 

Eight-eyed 83, 124 

Ellis, William 84 

Egypt 44- 

Evolution 85, 103, 109, 132 

Fairies 113 


Australia 59 

Bowditch Islands 76 

Chatham Islands 75 

De Peysters Islands 59 

Hawaii 61, 120 

Hervey Islands 67, 70 

Indians 57 

New Zealand 67, 74, 88 

Peruvians 59 

Samoa 67, 70 


Savage Islands 67, 72 

Society Islands 66, 72 

Tartary 59 

Tokelau Island 67 

First man 89 

Fishing up islands 

Hawaii 14, 18, 26 

Hervey Islands 26 

New Hebrides 25 

New Zealand 19, 88 

Samoa 24 

Tonga 24, 28 

Fish hooks 12, 15, 20, 26, 81, 118 

Fish nets 81 

Flood 25 

Flying machine 125 

Forbes, Rev. A. 42 

Fornander, A 83 

Ganges 154 

Gilbert Islands 34, 60 

Gill, W. W 36 

Grey, Sir George 7, 20, 23, 49, 101, 110 

Green stone 110, 134 

Guardian of under-world 4, 5, 17, 70 

Hades 129 

Halai hills 64, 155 

Hale-a-ka-la 7, 13, 32, 43, 62, 143 

Hale-a-o-a 76 

Hau spirit Preface 

Hau tree 76 

Haumia-Tiki-Tiki . 34 


Hawa-iki 5, 35, 37, 137, 154 

Hawaii-loa 29 

Hawke's bay 28 

Hele-a-ka-la 122 

Hercules 53, 112 

Hervey Islands 4, 5, 10 

Hide-and-seek 10 

Hilo 7, 19, 26, 64, 129, 147, 155 

Hina 5, 7, 10, 12, 18, 45, 61, 64, 121, 139 

Hina-a-ke-ahi 3, 27, 157 

Hina-a-ke-ka 123 

Hina-a-te-lepo 91 

Hina-Kulu-ua 157, 161 

Hina-uri 101 

Hina-nui-te-po 23, 123, 133 

Hina's daughters 156 

Horizon or heaven 107 

Human sacrifices 159 

Hump back 125 

Huna 166 

lao 43 

le-ie, fiber 125 

liwi 113 

Ika-o-Maui 23 

Ili-ahi 66 

Immortality, Maui 128 

Imu, oven 159 

Ina, see Hina 5, 66, 142 

India 154 

Indians, fire-finding 57 

Indians, snaring sun 54 

Ira Waru . . 101 


Kaahumanu 143 

Ka-alae-huapi 120 

Kahai chant 169 

Ka-iwi-o-Pele 18 

Kalakaua 8 

Kalana-Kalanga, see Akalana 3, 4, 60 

Kalau-hele-moa 45 

Kamapuaa 83 

Kanaloa 5, 24, 29, 120 

Kane 35, 119, 135 

Kane's cave 119 

Kapa 11, 13, 42, 62, 116, 119, 122, 141 

Kauai 26 

Kauiki, or Kauwiki 7, 12, 26, 143, 168 

Kaula Island 26 

Kipahula 18 

Ki-i-ki-i 6, 32, 143 

Kite-flying 87, 112, 128 

Ko, spade 94 

Kohala 28 

Koolau 44 

Ku 6 

Kualii 12 

Kuna, see Tuna 7, 99 

Ku-olo Kele 125 

Ku-ula, fish god 140 

La, or Ra 5, 44 

Lahaina 32 

Lasso 47, 51, 80, 144 

Lifting the sky 

Ellice Islands 33 


Gilbert Islands 34 

Hawaii 31 

Hervey Islands 38 

Manahiki 35 

New Zealand 34 

Samoa 32 

Liliuokalani chants 3, 8, 17, 27, 40 

Long Eel 92 

Lono 34 

Ma-eli-eli hill 120 

Magic fish hook 82 

Mahui, Mahuika, Mafuia 5, 60, 68, 73, 132 

Mahina, or Masina 166 

Mamo bird 114 

Manahiki Islands 24, 80 

Maori 28, 34 

Marama, or Mai am a 166, 171 

Marshall Islands 60 

Maru 89 

Mauna Kea 13 

Maui Akalana 

Akamai 78, 82 

baptized 10, 133 

birth 6 

bird or insect 9, 10, 20, 24, 71, 114, 144 

brothers 3, 6, 14, 22, 24, 78, 107 

canoes 28 

children 82, 93, 137 

creation 4, 80 

death 25, 26 



Hawaii 130 

Hervey Islands 131 

New Zealand 137 

Samoa 131 

eight-eyed 83 

footprints 25, 33 

god or demi-god 4, 148 

home 4, 7, 10, 31, 119 

hook 12, 15, 19, 26, 28 

of the malo Preface 

prophet 84 

sister 6 

the swift 64, 117, 121 

uncles 8 

Maui-Mua, or Rupe 106, 125 

Maui Hope 124 

Maui Waena 3, 124 

Mercury 11 

Moemoe 48 

Mo-o 41, 97, 99 

Moon 41, 89, 134 

Moon, Hina the goddess 147, 156, 165 

Motu, or Mokua Hina 170 

Mudhen 120 

Muri 48, 50 

Nauru Islands 171 

New Heavens 107 

New Hebrides Islands 25 

New Zealand 4, 5, 7, 9 

Niu Islands 33 

Oahu legends 

Maui and the two gods 119 

How they found fire 120 

Maui catching the sun 122 

Uniting the islands 123 

Maui and Pea-pea 124 

Obsidian 109, 134 

Ohia trees 80 

Olona 81, 114, 117 

O-o, spade 94 

O-o, bird 114 

Paoa 29 

Papa 34 

Payton 25 

Pea-pea, the eight-eyed 124 

Pearl Harbor 123 

Peruvians 59 

Pictographs 165 

Pigeon 9 

Pimoe 18 

Pohakunui 64 

Prometheus 57 

Puka-a-Maui 151 

Pumice stone 38 

Puna 166 

Puu-o-hulu 119, 123 

Ra or La, sun-god 5, 44 

Rainbow Falls 8, 26, 99, 147 

Rangi 34 

Raro Tonga 6, 24 

Roko 97 


Kongo 34 

Ru 5, 35 

Eupe, Maui-mua 106, 125 

Samoa 5, 24, 29 

Sandalwood 66 

Savage Islands 

Savaii 29, 129 

Scorpion 26 

Serpent 33 

Sharks 18, 123 

Short days 

Sina, see Hina 86, 143, 166, 171 

Snaring the sun 

Fiji 54 

Hawaii 42, 122, 144 

Hervey Islands 52 

Indians 54 

New Zealand 48 

Samoa 143 

Society Islands 41, 50, 53, 143 

Tonga 40 

Snow 89 

Society Islands 5 

Spears 81 

Spirits, islands of 129 

Stone implements 86, 93, 110 

Sun, created 41 

Supporter of the Heavens 37 

Tabu 102, 126 

Tahiti 76, 86 


Talanga or Kalana 5, 68 

Tane, see Kane 35 

Tangaroa or Kanaloa 6, 24, 25, 34, 66 

Taro 121 

Tattooing 80, 104, 136 

Tawhiri 35 

Te-ika-o-Maui 23 

Ti leaves 125 

I Kii-Kii 6, 25, 32, 34, 60, 68 

Tiki-tiki J 

Tini-rau 106, 108 

Tokelau Island 67 

Tonga 28, 40, 89, 129 

Tonga-iti 41 

Tracey Islands 33 

Tu or Ku 35 

Tuna or Kuna 91 

Fiji 91 

Hawaii 99, 148 

Hervey Islands 154 

New Zealand 92 

Samoa 96 

Turner . 24 

Ulua 12, 18 

Under-world 4, 9, 15, 51, 68, 129 

Uniting the islands 123 


Vatea, or Wakea 41 

Vatupu Islands 33 


Waianae 65, 119 

Waikuna 100, 148 

Wailuku 7, 26, 80, 140, 146 

Waipahu 125 

Waipio 115 

Wakea, Vatea, Atea 4, 41 

Water of life 134 

White, John 87, 96, 101, 132 

Wife of Maui 91, 124, 137, 156 

Wiliwili tree 44 

Winds 86,115 

Woman in the Moon . 165 

B. R. GOWAN & Co., Printers, 492 Collins Street, Melbourne. 

GR Westervelt, William Drake 
385 Legends of Maui 

H3W4 Australasian ed.